Just over a year ago, Belgian artist aMute (aka Jerome Deuson) released his debut CD entitled A Hundred Dry Trees on the nearly always excellent Intr.Version label. In the time since then, he's started his own label (Stilll, who released the excellent CD by Holiday For Strings earlier this year, among other things) and worked on his follow-up album. While it's still filtered through the same hazy, electronic-tinged kaleidoscope that his debut was, The Sea Horse Limbo is much less melancholy sounding. If his debut was the soundtrack to a bleak winter day, then this newest work is at the very least a sunny winter day day that's giving way to spring.
"Why Do I Run Seasons So Fast" opens the release and some dew-kissed acoustic guitar and filtered chimes rapidly morph into a more dense rush of sound as breathy vocals spill over the top of it all and make it feel like something is about to explode (but it never does). Instead, "The Floating Boat" follows it up, and the track pushes the sunny pop aesthetic into completely new areas as white-capped guitar noise falls away into a more open second half, as the more blistering guitars are turned into a submerged element as sparkling bells and female vocals drift through the parched savannah.
The rest of the album continues with slight variations on this deconstructed theme, and in some cases it makes for more abstract pieces, while in other places it sounds like an actual band spitting out the music. The shorter "Disco Flags Are All Around You" pulses into especially Fennesz-esque territory, with loads of crispy filtered layers piling on top of one another as disembodied vocals and filtered strings add even more pure texture. On the other hand, the nearly twelve-minute "Oh! Le Zeppelin" starts out slowly with filtered guitar twangs and eventually turns into an almost live sounding laptop-smashed post rock track that incorporates some rumbling drums alongside delicious waves of warm electronics and hazy guitar.
If you're familiar with the loose sort of Intr.Version "feel," you'll most likely enjoy the heck out of this release. It has things in common with label-mates Desormais, as well as the aforementioned Fennesz and other lap-toppers, while at the same time trying to tweak the standard pop formula by pretty much mulching into to pieces and reconstructing it again. A release that might make the winter days seem a little less overcast.