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Andrew Thomas - Between Buildings and Trees




Andrew Thomas is a producer from New Zealand who has a knack for creating wispy ambient music. “Between Buildings and Trees,” released by the Kompakt record label, is his second full-length album.  The album’s nine tracks feature just over forty minutes of delicate and beautiful soundscapes.   

Most ambient and noise artists sense a deep relationship with either nature or the industrial and modern. With his rather apt title, Thomas seems to split the difference. The title alone—“Between Buildings and Trees”—evokes a sense of music that feels both organic and inorganic, and Thomas does not fail to deliver. Each of the album’s tracks create a graceful mood that bring to mind natural surroundings, with delicate piano loops sitting alongside soothing and ethereal soundscapes. Perhaps this is to be expected, as Thomas composed the tracks while staring at the evening New Zealand coastline.  

The album’s best tracks contrast piano loops with soundscapes that ebb and flow in a natural manner. In “Net to Catch a Ghost,” a pretty piano line gets lost in a growing and crackly background, reemerging as the track winds back down. “Light on Sea (From Above the World So High)” is another delicate track that builds a thin soundscape over a soft piano and a crackly, static hiss. In “Hazer,” Thomas punctuates the full and otherworldly soundscapes with piano chords that seem to pierce lightly through the music. And the opening track, “A Dream of a Spider,” sets the light, ethereal tone for the album.  

The tracks do not evoke the vast or powerful forces of nature. Instead, they tend toward the patient, the delicate, and the mellow.  Thomas rarely contrasts his soundscapes with deep bass lines; instead, the music floats in the lower middle and higher ranges, creating a mood evocative of cool, dim, and rainy days.   

While “Between Building and Trees”  is not an incredibly innovative ambient album, it does feature nine songs of mellow and pretty music. In short, Andrew Thomas has produced a very good album. He has a managed to create a nice balance between organic and inorganic, between delicate analog and pianos and smooth, relaxing soundscapes. And the album as a whole offers more than the sum of its parts; it should be listened to in one sitting. I particularly recommend “Between Buildings and Trees” while sitting at home, book in hand, on a cold, rainy day. For me, it captures that mood more than anything else. Recommended.

Jeremy Yellen

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