SVLBRD – Stratus
Released on the Spanish label Faint, ‘Stratus’ is the debut full-length album by SVLBRD (aka. Agustín Mena). Listeners may already be familiar with Mena, as SVLBRD is the side project of the artists well established output under the name Warmth. Following the release of the ‘Svalbard EP’, also released on Faint in late 2016, ‘Stratus’ contains the emotive depth and unquestionable attention to detail that all here at Irregular Crates have come to associate with Mena. The album begins with ‘Prelude’, a gorgeously fluid opening track that prepares the listener for the soothing synth tones melded seamlessly with crisp winter soundscapes, as vast as they are immediate.
The album follows a steady progression as the listener is introduced to subtle rhythmic elements, as heard in ‘Vessel’, while hollow pads slowly emerge from a dusting of the album’s brittle environmental gatherings that create a sense of abstraction. Fans of Biosphere, the earlier works of Loscil, and to the extent of the artic environmental documentation of Chris Watson, will enjoy Mena’s most recent output as SVLBRD – ‘Stratus’ as an album finds a home in both attentive and casual listening. The albums fifth track, ‘Spheres’, mimics what feels like a blissful descent, with a spaciousness and otherworldly feel I learned could be achieved through music when hearing Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks’ for the first time.
SVLBRD – ‘Stratus’ is available via the Faint Bandcamp page, and can be purchased as a digital download, or in the much preferred limited edition CD that includes a six panel digipack design with pictures by Alexander Kopatz, complementing the sounds contained withing.