Artist: Atomic Skunk
Release: Binary Scenes
It doesn’t take much talent to hammer out an electronic track with drums and put a melody behind it. It takes much more effort to layer textures onto an ambient track with no obvert beats, but still give it a sense of movement and growth. Atomic Skunk (aka San Francisco Bay Area-based musician Rich Brodsky) does this in spades with “Binary Scenes” an 8-song album coming in at around 52 MB in size and worth more than that in content.
The album begins with the mesmerizing bells and pads of “Chronoswamp,” a zen-like reflective tune that oozes with warmth. “Liquid Dharma” adds the drama of rain and Indian tabla percussion with violin to the mix for a tropical rainforest experience, complete with female chant vocals. “Winter’s Gift (The Chamber)” is a sound narrative about one man’s trudge through snow into a warm room with a magic musicbox and a fire. “Frozen Neptune” is a cold, broad atmospheric piece built from windy sound effects and chimes. The only odd ball in the release is the humorous “Flying Spiders of Babylon” with its 1950’s science fiction kitsch, its skittering spider sounds, and its driving rhythm.
Overall, this sounds like something you might hear at a day spa while getting your back pounded by Helga the viking masseuse. Except that it’s not cheesy, not predictable, and is probably more complex and intricate than a normal spa-goer would like. Which makes it a verified hit in our book– perfect for end-of-workday relaxation, or simply the drive home. It’s subtle, complex, and cerebral ambient music which thrills because it is able to exude such humanity. Download it and keep it!