Russian ambient instrumentalist Max Ananyev might just be one of those guys who will cite obscure philosophers at your dinner party. Luckily his music has the same qualities of endlessness, carried by meandering pianos and expansive soundscapes, without the dreariness. On 2018’s Water Atlas, you'll find nothing but peaceful tidings of gentle ambient. Of course, you can also listen to the music in combination with aforementioned dinner-party exposition on youtube.
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Trust. You can trust Max Ananyev -- probably in many situations, no doubt -- but most pertinently, here, with ambient quietude. You can trust Max -- a Russian ambient musician, in case you were wondering -- to be influenced by, and to quote Russian philosophers. In this case 20th century philosopher Alexei Losev from ‘Dialectics of Myth’, his eighth and final volume of monographs. In his last complete study, Losev rejected dialectic materialism and proposed that myth be treated on equal terms with physical matter. Ananyev here follows this logic through with a musical treatment of water and its associated physical properties and their connections with the ‘mythological’ or notional qualities we ascribe to them as human beings with thoughts, intuitions and emotions.
I’ve opened up a whole can of metaphysical worms now, which I had not intended to at the start of this review; after all it’s a Friday afternoon and this is, let’s face it, only music. Sheesh. The sigh of contentment I exhaled at the start of this beautiful CD has transformed into a sigh of mild frustration at my own wordiness and lack of focus. Focus, moving swiftly onto the actual music now, is something this record is conducive to facilitating. ‘Facilitating’: ffs. See what I mean?
So this is some lovely, serene stuff: gently flowing piano, tinkling away like a babbling brook or tumbling stream; woven together with sparkling guitar lines atop undulating synth beds, with assorted percussive twinkles occasionally dropping by to say ‘hi’. Just like we describe water as having properties that are frankly in the eye of the beholder, so have I just tacked on adjectives to this music you don’t have to agree with. And now it’s all nicely tied together, albeit perhaps in a ‘Golden Haze’ (track 4) from within a ‘Laurel Forest’ (track 5). ‘Night Path And Snowfall’: that’s a particularly twinkly, star-studded and moonlit one. Night then. Oh, and I'm reminded (a little) of Eno's 'Apollo'. But only a bit. If that helps.
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