Halftribe – For The Summer, Or Forever

I’ve been a fan of Halftribe for years, and I was thrilled to receive a promo copy for review from the man behind the moniker, Ryan Bissett. Following acclaimed releases on ARCHIVES, Halftribe finds home with Dronarivm; the Moscow-based ambient and modern classical label who have worked with the likes of Sven Laux, Pleq, and Pausal over the years, and are who are yet to release anything I haven’t been excited to hear. Phone on silent, coffee to the side; I’m ready to listen.

‘For The Summer, Or Forever’ begins with an introductory track, ‘Sacred’, gathering a haze of weather-beaten soundscapes and dream-like instrumentation as a preview to the sonic worlds the listener will soon encounter. Following, the album’s second and title track rekindles the sound of Halftribe that returning listeners will share some sense of familiarity without a risk of repetition. Bissett’s most recent offering allows for the varied field sounds to achieve prominence, where soft drones and flutters of innocently keyed instruments accompany the auditory surroundings that are opening up around us. Track four, ‘Swimming Off That Sombre Shore’, shows off the artist’s creative production skills at their finest, forming powerful interactions between musical and textural sound sources that transcend with a level of precession and care not often heard.


The album is made up of somewhat shorter pieces of music compared to previous Halftribe releases, which allow for more expansive soundscapes to be developed that stay clear of fatigue or over-saturation. The album’s sixth, ‘Imaginary Lines’ is an example of the easier moments within ‘For The Summer, Or Forever’; blissfully submerged pianos, rising choral pads, and infrequent synth stabs from side to side maintain focus through unexpectedness. ‘The Simple Things’ is another example of the stunning calm Bissett is able to achieve, creating loosely rhythmic elements from non-musical sources, and embedding creaking woods and natural movement alongside fragmented synths.


Halftribe – ‘For The Summer, Or Forever’ will be available May 18th, out on Dronarivm on CD and digital downloads. Pre-order are available now via the label’s Bandcamp page.