It’s been a strange year for the electronic music community, with the steady pulse of UK nightlife grinding to an abrupt halt. A sense of loss is hanging over those of us who long to gather at the DJ booth like an altar. There have been several commendable efforts to distill the club atmosphere into the digital realm, but it’s difficult to recreate that feeling of connectivity without an ecstatic swarm of bodies moving together like one giant organism.
Yet the absence of the club scene hasn’t made for a year bereft of quality electronic output – quite the opposite. Many producers have taken the opportunity to cast an inward eye and embrace the soft, meditative side of electronic music. From the resonant singing bowls of Kazuya Nagaya to the deep modular glow of Polypores, a diverse wealth of ambient soundscapes have emerged over the lockdown months.
One of the most critically well received albums this year has been The Soft Pink Truth’s Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase. It’s a gorgeous, semi-ambient blend of acoustic and electronic sounds which sit in direct opposition to the cacophonous experiments we’ve grown to expect from the eclectic producer. Even UKG superstar MJ Cole has hit pause on the two-step rhythm, venturing into a world of glassy neoclassical textures with his latest offering Madrugada.
This change in pace feels timely for the creator and listener alike. Ambient music has both a restorative and an eerie quality to it which makes it a fitting backdrop for this moment we’re living through. It echoes the strange state of dormancy that has seized the globe and provides a sonic antidote for the tired, restless mind. For now, lets sink into its soothing, diaphanous haze – perhaps we’ll be ready for a little more movement in 2021.
Header artwork: somuchtoanswer