When I hear the words “Ambient-Instrumental Project” I immediately throw in the “Sorry, I’ve got…a thing” excuse and attempt to avoid a twenty minute violin ballad while Rose throws the Heart of the Ocean over the railing. Because, let’s be honest, that classification is usually reserved for backing tracks to sentimental moments where teen girls cry uncontrollably over a fictional character.
But when We Were Here fell on my desk, I hit play without knowing it would carry the predetermined shroud of “Ambient-Instrumental Project.” And the result was one of the best surprises I’ve had in quite some time.
“Myopic” is to be shortsighted, but when applied to Jeff Ryan, it does not mean unable to see beyond what is now. No, for Ryan it means appreciating the here-and-now and utilizing what is at your fingertips at this very moment. And let me tell you, the man knows how to make things work.
The seven track release We Were Here by Myopic brings Ryan’s experiences recording with the likes of The New Year, The War On Drugs, Sarah Jaffe, St. Vincent and more, twists it with his influences of Orbital, Sparklehorse and Kraftwerk, and incorporates some very personal, very profound, experiences.
The resulting sound is definitively unique. The looping and layering instantly reminds me of deep track early Jamie Lidell, yet holds a persona all its own. Three tracks come in at over five minutes (“Toner,” “6of1” and “Jura”); two under three minutes and the release is bookended by tracks that are forty-five seconds each. The reason I find this so interesting is that from the moment “Puzzle Pieces” begins to the point “Puzzle Pieces” ends (yes, same begins and ends the album), all sense of time disappears. We Were Here settles on you like an intimate meditation. The always fascinating precision sound is one that you know is experimentation, but conveys itself with great ease; feeling as natural as breathing. Ryan paints a landscape rich in color and void of monotony.
I jumped into Myopic’s We Were Here with no hesitation and the result was unforgettable. Not all “Ambient-Instrumental Projects” are soundtracks for tearjerkers, but then again, not all are like this. Myopic slips into the realm of chill meditation ambience. To lump this into electronic or experimental or even simply ambient-instrumental does not do the sound justice. Simply because something is labeled for you as a style you may not be keen on doesn’t mean it should be disregarded; if fact, the only thing that will convey the beauty of Myopic is to hear Myopic. Don’t just take my word for it, hear this record.