Usually, when I’m working on the computer at night, I like to listen to the new musical releases from the most disparate authors, and I’m not always concentrated on the music. But sometimes it can happen that I’m suddenly caught by something special: it may be a song or even just an instrument, which in a short time captures all my attention. A few nights ago this happened to me when I started listening the new album released by Aukai, which is the acoustic ambient project founded by American composer and instrumentalist Markus Sieber. Aukai’s new LP is called Reminiscence, and it really had the effect of making me feel completely absorbed by the music.
One thing that caught immediately my attention when I started listening to this album was the presence of the “ronroco”, which is the plucked string instrument from Argentina that has been made famous by Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla. I’m crazy about the ronroco: it’s at the same time warm and wild, and it allows the musician to produce beautiful and exciting arpeggios. As Sieber said once: “It has an otherworldly, mesmerising, dreamy sound. It comes from the Andes, and its sound literally provides the feel of the mountains, a sensation of space and freedom“.
The beauty of Reminiscence, however, is not just because of a single instrument. The album has in fact the capacity to capture the listener’s attention with the elegance and the gentleness of its songs, which are relaxing but also engaging and moving. This is a precious albums that’s ideal for every moment when you don’t want anything else than enjoying beautiful instrumental music, and let your mind travel.
In the short duration of 24 minutes, Aukai’s new LP offers us a remarkable collection of cinematic and atmospheric moments. The tones are generally melancholic and there is a sense of persistent sadness that really reproduces the idea of distant memories, sudden emotions that we feel at the thought of a person, or an experience, or a special place.
On the other side, however, there are a couple of characteristics of the LP that didn’t convince completely. The first is basically a collateral effect of its short duration: a few songs of Reminiscence look more like sketches, or musical ideas, than fully developed pieces. The second is that the tones and the atmospheres of the songs tend to resemble each other, and because of the fact that the best songs are those placed at the beginning of the album, one has that the grip on your attention slowly loosens as we proceed in listening.
In the end, my overall rating of the album is 7/10.
Album highlights: La Joya, Hidden Harvest, and Reframe.