Album Review: Albert Swarm / ‘Wake’ (Ceremony)


A crash course in ambient electronica – notwithstanding that the crashes are floats down to earth – and a 28-minute running time means Albert Swarm, a.k.a. the Finn Pietu Arvola, is promising harmony in a hurry.

Starting with a strong dose of smelling salts with “Something Glows,” “A Dream That Glistened” sets the itinerary adrift, posing one of those logistical problems of being glossy chillout, and where the widescreen nature within means it should probably be turned up louder than is conventional. Worry always seems to be part of Swarm’s make-up though – never a bellowing anguish, but an in-your-seat squirm that he won’t openly let on about, such as when he borrows from dubstep and lets it bleed into “Fadima” and “He Took a Deep Breath”. These slender pangs add an edge when taking the edge off is meant to be the oeuvre’s entire point, caught between dreaming blithely and having its fantasies rudely trespassed and illusions splintered.

Drawn by long swelling synth lines, a low-key sense of authority and nobility to the deep house mind-expander “Things Fold into Themselves” reaches a fine high. Is he breaking new ground? Is saying he plays to and has honed ambient electronica’s strengths a backhanded compliment? Albert Swarm is as modest as his name without doing the whole aren’t-I-enigmatic thing, going about his business, touching a chord and the occasional heart, before exiting with just as little fanfare.
File under: Petar Dundov, Alex Under, Blue Fields

Matt Oliver

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