Tracks

Aquarelle: "The Blue Light Was My Baby"

(2011)

By George Bass | 21 October 2011

When Ryan Potts says he’s found a new way of treating ambient music, he isn’t yanking your chain. It’s nothing radically different, like adding lyrics or drums, but it is putting him ahead of the other drone nuts who roll around in the same old cassette fuzz. For starters, he cites his biggest influences as Austrian techno survivor Christian Fennesz and the Canadian musician Tim Hecker—the latter better known as the Godspeed sidekick who plays instruments as well as artistically obliterating them. Secondly, Potts’ idea of guitar-led electronica is to put the guitar well ahead of the laptop: a hearty collection of FX pedal means he won’t touch Audacity until he really needs it. And lastly, instead of overpressing Sung in Broken Symmetry by 5000 unsellable digipaks, he’s put out a run on translucent vinyl which has been gobbled up and made him a rarity. If you’re one of the lucky buyers who’s snagged a copy, file it quick—that could be next year’s fuel allowance in your hands.

Obviously concerned with becoming frozen himself, Symmetry finds Potts using diversions and ignoring the trodden path of ambient. “The Blue Light Was My Baby,” the record’s concluding 25%, is all sparkling acoustics like a pre-demonic possession Xela, the strings so crisp they could form their own song. Potts combines these with that trusty ally, the sea, crushing guitars until they resemble the shore and playing on the womb theme of the title. Then the song collapses into a buzz: a three minute buzz (maybe Potts has been rolling in cassette fuzz after all) before fading into a final puddle of drone. OK, so it might not be the ambient revolution subscribers to synth magazines were hoping for, but it is the best possible use of eight minutes of noise and about ten years of regular guitar lessons.