Wolf Müller and Cass created a hybrid that I never knew I needed: the perfect meeting point between new age and balearic synth music. Sure, it takes off from sounds that I’m familiar with, but the result is an otherworldly journey that lasts far longer than its slim 39 minute run time suggests.
Halfway through 2016, International Feel is on a roll. The label named after a Todd Rundgren song began a new series this year that’s already nailed down a very specific aesthetic with just three mini-albums, the second of which was CFCF’s magnificent On Vacation, already a favorite of mine. The label’s vision of balearic heaven has been significantly expanded by this incredible collaborative project.
The Sound of Glades is a slow-motion, meditative experience, ballooning with open space and sparkling with bird calls and wind chimes. The sound bridges the gap between bouncy balearic and expansive new age drift, zeroing in on a moment of bliss and stretching it beyond time. The intricate details are easily appreciated with so much distance built into the music, as thoughtfully paced as it is. The whole set is perfect ambient music for close listening, blushing with gratitude and zen-like calm while completing a satisfying emotional arc.
The duo, composed of German musicians Wolf Müller, aka Jan Schulte, and Cass., aka Niklas Rehme-Schlüter, conjures atmospheres that remind me of older Ryuichi Sakamoto and Kitaro records as much as anything made in 2016. While these are not traditionally cool reference points, releases like this are rescuing them from the sole purview of music nerds like myself. The wider world is beginning to love this stuff, too.
Like this year’s CFCF album, which I discussed in March, this set takes some of the cheesiest aesthetic touchstones from my childhood and refashions them into the building blocks of the future. This art seeks to reclaim a maligned slice of music history, giving it fresh context to shine for modern ears. It’s also similarly hypnotic, demanding repeat plays as soon as the album winds to a close.
Here’s the title track, a subtle epic that takes up over a third of the entire running time:
But don’t stop there. There’s a track called Glade Runner on this album and it’s as fantastic as you could imagine!