I stumbled upon Hybrid Palms while tripping through Bandcamp, my favorite place for adventurous music. I scrolled until I came to this album, listed brightly and warmly: Pacific Image. To be brutally honest and superficial, the cover art beckoned first. I read the title and heard a few minutes of the opening track and that was it. I needed this. I needed to hear more and I needed to know what it was.
Hybrid Palms is the project of Russian artist Konstantin Skolnikov. His work brings new weight and meaning to the idea of what new age music can be. Far more than pleasant background music, this album conjures the frontier spirit of artists like Alice Coltrane and Laraaji, subsuming the deeply weird and uplifting ends of jazz and electronic music in a true hybrid fusion.
This is new age music at its most vibrant and weird, defiantly alive. I kept searching for another genre signifier, another name to cap it with, but nothing rang true. Sure, ambient is close, but Pacific Image doesn’t really fit in that hazy box. Accept it, feel it, live it. Despite the years of abuse that tag carried, it still could mean something. The lingering mood I’ve drifted on since hearing this album for the first time might define that something, or at least color it in.
It’s that prickly sensation on the back of your neck as you wander into the darkest shade of an unfamiliar forest. It’s the lifting sensation in your toes when the clouds break on a stormy summer day. It’s the electricity in the air one second after school gets out for the year. This music smears the resin core of these feelings in a blurred streak through time, spreading each element out for examination and exultation.
The sound glows in wooden block jungle slumber, a hazy sense of uplift, mystery, even accomplishment. This is a venture into the unknown and, although you might not be prepared, you feel no fear. You were born for this. It feels that natural. That real.
Instead of trying to describe exactly how this sounds, I’m going to tell you who might like it. If you tend toward spiritual moments in art, if you like to lie back and feel obliterated by the sun, the sky, the beauty of it all, if you love the idea of lifting off and floating up above the daily hum… you’ll be thankful you tried this.
The entire album is streaming here:
You can buy the album on Bandcamp courtesy of Michigan-based label Sounds of the Dawn.
Yes, I meant that hybrid pun at the beginning.
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