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Near the Parenthesis – Intervals

Near the Parenthesis – Intervals

“life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”

Intervals is the eighth album from Tim Arndt‘s Near the Parenthesis. The naming is quite deliberate in that it signifies the passing of time and the personal milestones within life’s journey. The word intervals touches upon both the time period between Near the Parenthesis releases and, crucially, the spaces between the notes themselves. Intervals is also less beat-driven than previous NtP works. Instead this latest release is a more peaceful, minimal NtP offering with pianos very much to the fore. There are water motifs everywhere on Intervals. Most obviously the pairing of ‘There Are No Waves’ and ‘Only The Ocean’ (geddit?), except it isn’t just in the titles. The music itself sounds like the gentle lapping of tides. The former of those two particular cuts has a fragility that put me in mind of The Durutti Column (look ‘em up kids)

The album begins with ‘Center’ which had a very cinematic vibe. This piece is almost in two halves with the opening passage strongly reminiscent of Jóhann Jóhannsson or even Michael Nyman both luminaries of the Soundtrack world. The track then shifts into more recognisible IDM territory before reprising itself. The track ‘Second’ manages to attain Philip Glass levels of repetition which is quite some feat. However the defining aspect of Intervals, its crowning glory if you please, is its arpeggios. On its first play through I couldn’t believe how beautiful the new album was. There’s a shimmering stillness to everything, if that’s not a contradiction. The whole album is the sound of natural ephemera made music. Picture a dewdrop on a spider’s web or a bubble, floating and reflecting its beauty in those seconds before it bursts. Little moments that we should all cherish.

If John Lennon’s message (from ‘Beautiful Boy’) is poetic and meaningful, I think Lester Freamon (from The Wire) had it more accurately “A life, … you know what that is? It’s the shit that happens when you’re waiting for the things that never come.” Intervals flickers somewhere between both purviews. Now personally I have never really used ambient music as ‘background’ or as a tool to introspection. I prefer to listen to my favourite music. Near the Parenthesis is fast approaching just such status. His segues and the ‘through line‘ that he creates for his compositions continue to impress. 8 tracks at 42 minutes the album is refreshingly old school The only danger on Intervals is arpeggio fatigue. It really is that pretty.

Twinkle twinkle you little star Tim Arndt.


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