Ambient music has an intriguing following. Since 1976, drones have flowed off the airwaves every Saturday night at Philadelphia’s WXPN. Their radio show, “Star’s End,” is one of the longest running of its kind in history. As a resident of eastern PA, it’s a delightful treat to hear Robert Rich and Steve Roach on radio speakers. It’s as if ambient’s vibrant colors pierces the darkness of night. But while such FM radio shows are rare, the electronic music genre continues to erupt on the Internet. Such artists release music on Soundcloud and Bandcamp every day, and some communities have exploded around it. One such collective, Rumourtone, has come to the foreground the past year. Their co-founder, Running in Slow Motion, has released his first proper ambient album. May the applause begin.
Milwaukee-based musician Brian Kraft has been making electronic music for a while now. One of his projects, BVSMV, is a delicious combo of ambient, post-rock, and synthwave music. While a member of both Sleepless and Mangled Music Collective, he co-founded Rumourtone Music in August 2016. The collective claims to be “the world’s best underground ambient music collective,” and prides itself on serving other ambient artists in their journeys. During the same year, he began his ambient music project, Running in Slow Motion. According to Kraft, the project explores “ambient soundscapes, experimental noise, and beauty in drones and delays.” The music does delve into these ideas, but on his debut EP, “Everything Ends,” they are backed by captivating moments of emotional catharsis. If you’ve been waiting a while for this release, you’ll find your patience to be gratified and richly rewarded.
Consider the soft chiming melody over luscious pads and crackling vinyl on “Begin.” The opener’s minimalistic timbres are as rich as the best of Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, and any soundscape played on the “Hearts of Space” radio show. “Expanse” swells into an oasis of plucked melodies, lovely bass rumbles, and water-like drips that bounce off the stereo walls. Further delicate flute tones float throughout its digital cathedral. The soundscape flows into the sorrowful yet mellifluous strings of “The Slow Erosion of Things,” before dissipating into beautiful whimperings on “Faded.” The droning textures here are deep, cinematic, and build to an emotionally arresting climax. The EP’s longest and eponymous finale, “Everything Ends,” is a somber symphony of frigid susurrations and icy auras. Layers of snowy crackles and glacial chords bury microscopic singing and soft piano notes. Finally, everything decays away.
I have similar praises for “Everything Ends” as Ayan Das’s debut. It should be a crime that this is Running in Slow Motion’s first EP. The textures throughout are immense and gorgeous, as moments of fragile beauty are contrasted powerfully by maelstroms of emotion. The album is masterfully produced, arranged as perfect as any film score, and has no sound out of place. There’s a reason why I was talking about “Star’s End.” “Everything Ends” doesn’t just sound as good as the show’s music. It belongs within the same fabric, and I urge Kraft to send Chuck van Zyl this EP. Maybe Rumourtone Music sounds slightly pretentious when they claim to be the “world’s best underground ambient music collective.” But after hearing this tearjerker, perhaps they’re not too far off. “Everything Ends” is not only a powerful ambient symphony, but one of the best debuts I’ve heard yet in 2017.
Title: Everything Ends
Artist: Running in Slow Motion
Genre: Ambient/drone/cinematic space music
Available to purchase at https://runninginslowmotion.bandcamp.com/album/everything-ends!