Back in July of 2019, Lava Gulls released their excellent full-length album Glass Negative. It’s a brilliantly layered and textured collection of songs filled with beats to get you moving, overlaid with yearning and melancholy vocals. It’s often a cathartic listen that builds into explosive releases of smiling optimism. It’s also filled with traces of something darker and haunting under the surface.
The follow-up to that release came in November with the fifteen-minute meditation track “Piano Song.” The instrumentation deployed here is much the same as Glass Negative but the tactics are nearly the opposite. Where the prior album contains sub-five minute dance jams, here we have a sprawling bed of tones peppered by a sparse piano. There is no build and release but, rather, a landscape of quiet sound meant to slowly envelope you with subtle changes. Around the ten minute mark, the track begins to simultaneously decompose and open up with more layers; carrying the listener through to the end with a warbling wave goodbye.
As a new year begins, it’s good to slow down, take inventory of everything around you and maybe even consider a little bit of self-care. Slow paced ambient music can provide a backdrop for letting the world around you fall away and open that door to introspective and relaxation. Lava Gulls has provided us with both a collection of upbeat bangers and come down decompression; a well rounded listening experience through both releases.