Ambient music is a challenging genre and it’s a broad one, too. It is harder to make a mess of an ambient production than making a successfully soft piece with a bit of reverb, decay and a smooth release on a synth lead. The challenge comes into existence when an artist wants to emerge themselves as pragmatic, musically crafty and unique. Those three strenuous elements are brought to being with Northern Ireland-born Richard Graham, who poses himself as signalsundertests in his Fluttery Records debut Nascent.

 

The now US-based artist doesn’t shed a traditional light to ambient music with this release; the drifting single-note synth pads serenely blazing through the foreground, like Eno’s Evening Star, or Aphex Twin's 'Rhubarb'. Graham efficiently applies his guitar skills in an electronically altered fashion – with software he created – and merges it with a Berlin School atmosphere.

 

Fortunately, the eerie, interval 'Selah' pieces are not dead-ringers of Edgar Froese’s projects, or Klaus Schulze. There's an accumulation, however. Schulze’s 1972 classic Irrlicht conjured up a portal of heavy drone and a Trainspotting ambiance, summoning this K-hole effect, imaginably. Similarly, but not negatively, Graham's sufficiency is duly presented as it is inevitable that the production wasn’t overworked or forceful. Laura Graham's vocal performance in the neo-storm opus 'Keep Me (143)' offers a serendipitous surprise, seeing that it is the sole vocal track on the 63-minute album. Swayed with gurgling rhythmic electronics, her serene exhibit provides a subtle and satisfactory balance in the overall mechanism, reproducing the near-perfect ambient silence.   

 

The recent Ph.D graduate finely finishes the release with the suitably titled 'Ebb And Flow', forming a slick junction of various ambient mannerisms; from space, Robert Fripp ambient, to a Tim Hecker Ravedeath, 1972 drone. It is an environmental grouping of dark sounds that is delightfully arranged to suit the night-time listener.