In the late 18th century, a curious object called the “Claude Glass” achieved some popularity. Named after the Romantic landscape painter Claude Lorrain, this black or deeply colored opaque piece glass was held in the palm of the hand so as to reflect the landscape behind the viewer. The image captured on the palm size glass presented a slightly muted reflection of the world, one rendered in painterly high-contrast by the distortions of the glass, appearing to the viewer like a miniature version of one of Lorrain’s paintings. I am reminded of this strange object when I listen to a certain strain of ambient music, Lieven Martens Moana’s work comes to mind, because of the way the sounds present a slightly distorted, yet heightened view of the world, softening and slowing the bright, frenetic world into picturesque landscape. Hybrid Palms has a similar effect.
The music of Hybrid Palms’s Konstantin Skolnikov both incorporates and mimics the rhythms and vistas of a rural landscape. This focus on the beauty of the natural world is suggested by track titles like “Horizon Departure” and the intermittent use of lightly manipulated field recordings, but what really carries the feeling of pastoral beauty are Skolnikov’s slowly unfolding synthscapes that invite the listener to gaze out the the nearest window at the clouds drifting above. I thoroughly enjoyed the first Hybrid Palms cassette on Lilllerne Tapes last year, but Skolnikov has taken his craft to the next level with this release, presenting 60 minutes of mature and masterful compositions, well suited to an afternoon of refracted light and bliss.
Pacific Image is the inaugural release for Sounds of the Dawn, an imprint of the New Age, meditation blog/archive of the same name. Sounds of the Dawn has put together a fine looking tape with clean aesthetic appropriate for the sounds within. I like to think about the folks who will unearth this gem 30 years from now and marvel at its under-appreciated brilliance. Be on the right side of history and grab this tape while it is still readily available. Find it on the Sounds of the Dawn Bandcamp.