There’s ambient music that embellishes the background, and then there’s ambient music that consumes the atmosphere whole.
Sundrugs’ Hidden Scenes is an album that belongs in the latter category. In fact, I’d go as far as to call it a poster child for dizzy-minded poetry masquerading as music journalism (you know, that thing I do from time to time where I don’t make any sense). Here is music as a personal journey – ambiguous and malleable to the imagination, a free soundscape drifting in zero gravity. You don’t have to be feeling anything when entering the void of Hidden Scenes – it’ll ensure you’ll be feeling something else by the end anyway.
Built up from rich textures of dreamy, ethereal drone, Hidden Scenes poises mystique shyly from the vacant streets it hides within. It is both darkness and light, the process of wading through memories and striking oil in warm nostalgia. Pure, uninhibited murk floods the air: dark, breezy and constantly in gradual motion. Yet the time spent in the darkness isn’t a fearful one; though there is uncertainty pervading throughout the album, there’s equivocal peace of mind – this is the sound to a wandering mind, a traverse through the unknown and the hopefulness that tours you through it.
Every place visited in the sonic realm remains fluid, never settling or becoming truly defined. Revisiting the world feels like returning to the same place, only some details are missing or have been changed, and though the path is the same you still tread with caution, making every excursion feel brand new. Though the album is indeed made up of eleven “songs”, the perpetual state of motion more closely resembles one single, swirling piece, as individual tracks can barely be characterized from one another. The exact nature of the music itself is also very vague (in the best way, mind you), and if “non-linear music” is indeed a thing this would be very close to fitting that descriptor – it spreads off into several unprecedented directions at once, and listening to it feels more like moving around freely in a given area than moving from start to finish. As such Hidden Scenes makes for an incredibly easy ambient piece to indulge yourself in, and rarely feels as long as it actually is. There’s atmospheric music – and then there’s atmosphere.
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