. . . and darkness came, Headphone Commute *****
Digital stocking fillers don’t come much better than this. The brainchild of online music site Headphone Commute, . . . and darkness came was inspired by the catastrophic aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy. With proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders and The Humane Society, it’s a music project that transcends geographical boundaries and logistical limitations.
Completed in a matter of weeks, the compilation gathers custom- written and previously unreleased material donated by 87 artists worldwide. For fans of drone, ambient and modern classical it’s a mouthwatering proposition. Alongside established names such as Johann Johansson, Max Richter, Helios, Hammock, Last Days, Dustin O’Halloran and Nils Frahm are lesser-known artists making subtle advances that merit further investigation, including Peter Prautzsch, Olan Mill, Saffron Keira and Waves on Canvas (on the roster of Dublin label Pyschonavigation).
As far as immersive listening experiences go, the album offers both a snapshot of the abundance of talent operating in these – admittedly – left-field creative zones and the opportunity to unearth minor gems, whether it’s Fabrizio Paterlini’s gorgeous lightness of touch on a piano and strings piece, There’s a Light We Might See, the stately layers of melody on Takahiro Kido’s Sweet Silence, or Black Swan’s all-enveloping Of Land and Water, which recalls drone-ambient heavyweights Stars of the Lid.
Epic in both scale and scope, there is more than enough to satisfy aficionados already familiar with these artists and styles, and encourage those with a curious ear to take a closer listen.
Of course, making a cohesive whole from an album over six hours long is a daunting task, but the carefully sequenced track listing oscillates between darkness and light, despair to hope, creating an intense, emotional journey for anyone willing to take the plunge. Luminous, inspiring and richly rewarding, this is, quite simply, a stunning collection for an exceptional cause. headphone commute.bandcamp.com
Download: the whole album from €8