Sven Laux – You’ll be Fine

This might be a hard opening metaphor, but I’m running with it.

It starts like the hum inside an aircraft, where passengers are ghosts. One looks like an assemblage of flickering piano keys and another is a jittery cloud of 78rpm static given form. Every now and then we pass through gentle turbulence, bouncing on the most subtle dubs, a sort of cloudscape that Buddhists would call a Pureland – except this one belongs to Harold Budd.

Synth-strings swell and the static has fizzed away slightly, and the piano is brought further forward into what is sounding less like a series of tracks and more like a long-form work with gaps. There’s still tension in the air before we reach the third track, which is starting to sound more exotic, more land-based, more, dare I say it… rainforest?

We are in a curious landscape. The mood reminds me of this amazing art-videogame Dear Esther and Jessica Curry’s soundtrack of it. Sven brings in a slightly audacious electro-violin sample here, that initially had me worried but it unfolds into neo-Vangelis Blade Runner territory. Meanwhile, metallic insects have been reproducing on the track.
I wouldn’t trust them, they might turn out like those cyborg ones from Minority Report.

A couple more scenes develop in what is becoming an obviously film-ready work or perhaps a partner to a cerebral video game – either way it does feel like a soundtracking of somewhere and I like this somewhere. I can hear a rich ensemble of what sounds like some of the Waldorf table-top synth series, with what could be morse signals left over from another century, as a gently abrasive piece of malfunctioning equipment fizzes on repeat.

The album ends with two more dramatic swells and the kind of electro-strings that are handled with restraint and taste. And it’s no bad thing that this record should sit alongside soundtracks, for in the end, ambient music can be the unashamedly soundtracky genre and we celebrate that.

This is an elegant and mature record with some large, rich moments and not without experimentation – but the experiments don’t feel tacked on here, they unfold gently into a well-crafted mix and a very focussed CD with beautiful photography.

Archives label: Bandcamp