AMN Reviews: Chris Russell – Blur (2015; Relaxed Machinery)

I was expecting a static/floating/tuneless drone fest and I got that…and that’s cool but only if you are in the mood for it.  (Disclaimer:  I am, often.)  What was unexpected about this release…there is much more going on if you’re listening.

Blur seems to fit squarely in the (not too) dark ambient realm.  Space is definitely the place here, but Russell also takes some pretty interesting detours.  Melody and some field recordings also find a home on this sprawling 65 minute release.  Between the dark grey rumble and  smooth, thick chordal slabs of dark circuitry running free, the active listener will also experience the occasional tune.  I found myself actually NOT zoning out to this, instead I was caught up in some very beautiful melodic passages that added an unexpected god-ray of positive brightness to this release.

Of course, just like the natural order of all things, beauty does tend to fade, doesn’t it?  There are some very dark corners to explore and Russell is more than happy to take you there.  Gothic, dark images of crumbled signs of life, smudged out blots of blackness amongst dying things that were once vital, wisps of indeterminate forms moving quickly in and around your blindsight…are they there?  Of course not, that is until one of them quickly and quietly disturbs your personal space with it’s moist, rotted breath.

Were those melodies just chum to lead the listener to those corners? Were those gentle waves kissing a peaceful deserted beach on “Oceans” really that inviting, or where they the last remnants of a near dead lake lapping a ruined, jagged shore line?   Find out…listen to Blur.

Michael Eisenberg