Review: Ian Haygreen/The Tides Erase All Things

‘The Tides Erase All Things’ is the latest release from Ian Haygreen, self styled “Classically trained pianist who buggers around with electronic music in several genres as the mood fits”. The mood in this instance is revealed in a footnote that indicates this release is ‘Droneseries #1’; it’s a long-form piece comprising a single track weighing in at a stately 43 minutes.

The world of drones is a broad church and I don’t feel we really have the vocabulary yet to properly describe and differentiate the various styles and approaches… but if you think that’s going to stop me then we clearly haven’t met. So as far as ‘Tides’ is concerned, this is very much at the ambient and accessible end of the spectrum, so if you are of a nervous disposition and not sure whether drones are for you, don’t worry, there are no road drills or bursts of radio static here.

The piece starts with swirling overtones, synth filters rising and falling, and this motif continues throughout. The piece changes over time, but very gradually, almost glacially slowly.

‘The Tides Erase All Things’ is a thing of fragile beauty; Ian Haygreen’s tides suggest an arctic sea, desolate and remote and cold. The music is largely in a minor key, with several ominous touches; nonetheless the mood is contemplative – danger is there, but alluded to, not signposted. For all the bleakness of the soundscape, the listener’s journey is not downbeat or depressive,  but thoughtful and reflective.

The best way to enjoy ‘Tides’ is to succumb to it, to wallow in it, inhale it. This is music that rewards your investment and your patience; as with much drone/ambient music, it is as much about the texture and the detail as it is about the broad strokes and to fully appreciate the music you should immerse yourself as far as possible.

Put some time aside and listen to this beautiful, moody piece. You can thank me later.


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