Warmth – ‘Parallel’
Warmth (Agustín Mena) returns with ‘Parallel’ – a deeply meditative album that further proves the Valencia-based artist is a forerunner in Minimalist Ambient. The artist’s third album under the Warmth moniker is a further development on the pristine sound heard in previous releases ‘Home’ (2017) and ‘Essay’ (2016), all of which appear within the reliable discography of Spanish laben ARCHIVES, alongside the likes of Gallery Six, Halftribe, Sinerider, and Robert Farrugia. ‘Parallel’ begins with ‘Reflector’; slow-moving and far-spreading across blissful synthesized tones that would not be by notable ambient words such as Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks’ (1983, EG) or Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works 85-92’ (1992, Apollo).
As the album progresses, I can’t help but reminisce on moments of transit; specifically, the humbling experience of seeing a bed of clouds and blue below while in flight. An imagined ethereal and never-ending landscape creates a peaceful horizon as ‘Receiver’ (track two) progresses onto the album’s title track. Mena’s careful use of repetition allows for underlying textures to form and be heard, providing sonic grounding for these imagined and dreamlike surroundings. I do believe I’ve found the next soundtrack for my next long-distance commute.
The albums fifth track, ‘Concave’, creates somewhat of a departure with a much deeper, much warmer feel that rumbled my trusted reference monitors. A video accompanies the track on the ARCHIVES Bandcamp page, which can be viewed below via the album pre-order. A brighter sound palette is introduced, as additional instrumental enters flow alongside resonant synth pads and natural environmental recordings surround the listener. A response following as ‘Convex’ brings a sorrowful, and slightly ominous atmosphere without taking anything away from the restful work.
A final note before this review imposes on the vital listening attention that this album rightly deserves, I must state that my favourite track, ‘Saros’, brings the album to a beautiful close. The choir-like soundscape, resonant swells, and reverberant passages reveal what I admire the most about Mena’s unmatched output and quality.
Warmth – ‘Parallel’ is available from April 23rd in a limited edition CDr with sublime artwork provided by Alexander Kopatz across a six-panel cover design, and also as a digital download, direct from ARCHIVES.