Big Thief Drummer James Krivchenia's 'A New Found Relaxation' Is the Least Relaxing Ambient Music Imaginable
Published Jun 25, 2020For his sophomore solo effort, Big Thief drummer James Krivchenia aimed to produce "fast slow-paced music." So he amassed a 500-strong collection of snippets of ASMR, internet spa radio tunes and field recordings, and processed the lot into a collection of heightened ambient soundscapes that are anything but calm or relaxing.
'ADHD ambient' is an apt descriptor for these uncanny tracks, in that the tropes of new age music are present but consistently interrupted by hard stereo panning, bit-crushing, drop-outs and intermittent bleep assaults. A New Found Relaxation is the perfect mash-up of the atmospheric and the outlandish. It's weird yet inspired and would fit perfectly alongside most of what the Orange Milk Records imprint is producing.
Subtle nods to influential ambient productions are scattered throughout the proceedings. Opening track "Temptation Reduced" flits about, periodically dropping out as if it belongs near the end of one of The Disintegration Loops tracks. "Loveless but Not Joyless" masks shades of Tim Hecker-esque gauze behind a bubbling stream and glittering chimes. Krivchenia plays with hauntology on "A Better Kind of Wrongness," submerging warbling melodies beneath a heap of crackling phonograph static.
Krivchenia has stated that he finds that "the smooth chilled out background music of our world is often the most terrifying". Take a calm body of water, apply two opposing forces, and you get a roaring, destructive maelstrom. Krivchenia has absconded with sounds traditionally associated with beauty, applied his twisted genius, and the result is A New Found Relaxation. (Independent)