I'm not sure what's in the water in Richmond, Virginia, but apparently there's something in the atmosphere or otherwise that inspires gloomy ambient music. Perhaps the most well-known group from the location is the long running Kranky artists Labradford, but the town and the region in general has long been a place where darker sonic washes just seem to emanate from. Anduin is the newest release on the small Smtg Limited label hailing from the area, and like the aforementioned certainly conjures up images that aren't altogether happy.
The side-project of Jonathan Lee (a member of Souvenir's Young America), this debut release also features contributions from notable soundscapers Xela, Jasper TX, and others. With eight tracks running forty minutes in length, it mixes deep synth pulses, field recordings, minimal eerie percussion (but not really beats, per se), and even some harmonica, piano, and wordless vocals.
With the best tracks arriving both at the front of the release and towards the end, it gets a little bit drifting in the middle without as much engagement. "For Francis Bacon (Part 1)" kicks the release off, and analogue synths, harmonica, and some insect-sounding field recordings all swirl together into a heady mass that brings together some odd textural sounds in a unique way (the old-west connection of the harmonica and the cold, austere analogue synth). "For Francis Bacon (Part 2)" arrives near the end of the release and changes the source material, with radio static, more hazy drifting, and this time almost choir-like falsetto vocals making for another lovely juxtaposition of sounds that come together in a great way.
Album closer "By The River's Path" finally mixes in some filtered drums, but it's the dark-wave synth work and and muffled doom sounds that give the track its seriously creepy vibe. Along the way, there's plenty more deep, claustrophobic passages, with "The Black Line (Forever Waiting)" again offering up just enough of a skeletal percussive element to really ratchet up the tension. Definitely the sort of release that will appeal to fans of any of the artists that worked with Lee on the release. Fans of Souvenir's Young America will probably want to check this one out too, as it sounds like a stripped-down, shadowy version of their already unique palette.