Electronic ambient music has been evolving in some truly incredible ways over the past decade. From one side of the Atlantic to the other, experimental artists around the globe have been advancing the artistic narrative of the genre at a fascinating pace recently, and through the work of performers like Bloom’s Taxonomy, we’re getting to experience ambient soundscapes in a fashion that simply wouldn’t have been possible some fifteen or twenty years ago. In his new record Bitter Lake, Bloom’s Taxonomy takes elements from old fashioned electronica, such as texture-first beats and melodic discordance, and melds them into a supremely 21st century noise concept, yielding as many grooves as he does freeing sonic decadence. If Bitter Lake is a glimpse into a crystal ball for this style of music, the future is very bright indeed.
Though aesthetical contradictions in the title track, “Taurus-Littrow” and “Balconies” create a pivotal sense of kinship between the various melodic components in the music, they never sound overtly abstract or inaccessible to casual listeners. On the contrary, I actually think these songs could serve as a solid foray into the extravagance of experimental ambient music without making the audience feel intimidated by the sophistication of the composing. It isn’t easy to strike the kind of artistic balance that Bloom’s Taxonomy is in this record, but then again, no one ever said that making music outside of the status quo would be a simple task – especially amidst this chapter in our shared history.
I really like the low-end tonality featured in “Spominiks” and “Burgess Park,” and personally, I think the bass features here forge more of an emotional center than any set of lyrics potentially would have. Ultra-filtered vocals slither into the mix on a few occasions in this tracklist, but by and large, they’re never the main focus of our attention. Bitter Lake is a tour de force of musical might and experimental songwriting on the virtuoso setting, and had it been weighed down with any of the typical ornamentations that one might hear in a so-called ‘mainstream’ eclecticism, I do not believe that it would be nearly as memorable, nor as critically provocative, as it is in its present form being offered to us this May.
While I wasn’t aware of his music prior to coming across Bitter Lake, I’ve been inspired to explore the discography of Bloom’s Taxonomy more as he adds to it in the future. This EP is a surprisingly robust effort that has the chill-inducing energy of a full-length album, and while some might perceive it as being a little stacked for its length, I relish its smorgasbord of gems. 2020 still has about seven months left to excite us with new music, but for my money, Bloom’s Taxonomy has just delivered what could be one of the best records of the year. He’s got the right idea with his present direction, and I hope to hear him follow-up on this release a heck of a lot sooner than later.
by Bethany Page