By Brian Tucker
The world of instrumental/ambient music is limitless, owing no allegiance to any music genre. In that headspace an artist can paint musically, take listeners to entrancing spaces, dark spaces, you name it. It’s a world where mood and vibe are built, envelop a listener, and in some ways, allows them to add if they choose (both figuratively and literally). There’s no vocalist and lyrics to interrupt, or inhabit, the listener’s enjoyment or emotional experience.
Whether it’s Tycho, Kitaro, or This Will Destroy You, (and a welcome smattering of underground artists), instrumental music offers plenty. For artists, it’s an unending canvas in which results can appeal across the board. For listeners, the music becomes their story, part of their fabric.
With “Exposé Mystique,” Rene has crafted a sonic tapestry of music whose root system is fed as much by the flavoring of hip hop as it is Les Baxter or Vangelis. Across eight tracks Rene shows us his interests, there are a lot here, and has fun creating with them. The EP says much in those eight tracks, flowing beginning to end with different emotions as if they were lengthy score cues in a movie. It’s subdued and ethereal (“Discovery”), romantic and dancy (“Protect the Muse!”) and playful and mystical (“Huh?”).
The strength of the EP is that it’s fresh – lush production and colorful storytelling. It eschews recognizable sampling, something that can be fun when used, but ultimately distracting. Here, its music first, its scenery first, and it’s about setting the temperature right. He nails it with “Light Flies,” a track that’s seductive, evoking moments after nightlife winds down. In another world with another artist it might have smoky horn playing, and it would work, but it’s not here for a reason.
“Exposé Mystique” is a pleasurable journey, nothing stark or too whimsical in how it makes you feel. Delicate synth playing drives much, balanced carefully with dusty beats and steady percussion, something that really resides in the shadows. And each track feels like a different theme – “QQ” feels hopeful, “Final March” feels nostalgic, “Onboard” feels like being underwater.
From the outset, with “Discovery” and its pretty, prickly sounds – harp, xylophone, staccato beats, you’re assured that this will be a confident experience, safe to assume it will be a colorful journey. And there will be surprises along the way.
released Feb 16, 2018