Rarely in the electronic music world nowadays does an album come along that is so ground breaking and earth shattering, it renews the listener with a second wind of inspiration, enthusiasm, and vitality. And when it does, the amount of mediocrity one needs to sift through to discover it requires a metal detector and a sturdy mental shovel.
However, this album, "My Little Forest", by Israeli producer and virtuoso Agraman, is the exception to this and so many other percieved rules. Having been playing and composing orchestral and classical music since the age of 6, by the time he reached adulthood, his highly sought after scores were being featured in box office films. Then, Agraman was introduced to electronic music, which completely distorted and revamped his perceptions.
His debut project album, "My Little Forest", encapsulates a life of musical composition and arrangement which spans both decades and genres. This cornucopia of sound and style draws from a virtual buffet of instruments, both classical and digital, whose genre influences draw from IDM, dub, ambient and the classical training he recieved as a child. "My Little Forest" is nigh indescribable using verbal vernacular. Although an attmept has been made to do so below, the best recommendation the reviewer can offer is to listen to yourself and learn why words simply don't do this ten track masterpiece of art justice. Afterwards, you will be telling your friends all about this amazing artist project as excitedly and kiddishly as the reviewer is as well.
"My Little Forest" by Agraman is a surefire 10-star achiever, with every track recieving its own ball of shimmering white light.
Track by Track:
An atmospheric introduction takes us to mental worlds surrounded by unearthy familiar nature. The tones, effects and moods transport you further from your reality and closer into this music's world. Before long, everything begins to take shape in the form of warm, rubling bass and gentle hihat percussion. The atmosphere progresses and explodes into a comfortably eerie dub arrangement.
You Will See
The musical atmospheric current continues with soundscapes you feel you've heard before yet not in this unique combination. Resonant harmonic melodies drift into relaxed percussion and digital saw wave stabs. Lyrics emerge from between the layers, using an oddly original voice to convey a deep message. Vague hints of middle east influences carry forth within the musical scales.
Sounds of surf and glockenspiel introduce a lovely strings orchestral section. Eastern European influence intermix with psychedelic digitalism in a gypsy-esque arrangement. Blossoming into gardens of funky glitch-breaks powered by pan-sweeps and background pads. Haunting melodies contrast against corrosive acid arpeggios in excellent use of tension and release of intensity.
This piece takes on a sadder, more lamenting air about itself. Weeping violin and organic minor chords descend and rise again into thick bassbeats and ultra-atmospheric, effect-laden percussion and vocals guaranteed to stand your hairs on end. A masterful mishmash of music from multiple worlds, "WierDUB" is more than just music, but a sonic taxi taking you everywhere and nowhere.
Don't Leave Me Alone
This two minute ambient intermission blends its predecessor and offspring together superbly. Excellent use of silver flute, natural sound, and cartoony sobbing speaks powerfully for the cerebral chemical reactions these tones induce.
The Old Times
Bells and glockenspiels reverberate trickloads of resonant harmony in the upper range as tuba brass belches out along the lower reaches. It isn't long before the rest of this psychedelic symphony fills out the rest. Many different elements, instruments, and sounds collide together in this sonic tapestry which spans multiple moods and touches none.
It's Not For Money
An emotive arrangement of bittersweet sounds hearken the entry of layers of elastic bass filling in the spaces of clean, precise percussion which spans the panorama with pleasurable unexpectedness. distinct elements of song body exist here. Proper attention to detail is applied to every layer, adding expert dimension to these twisting moods and making this a true piece of art.
The New Vibe
It's amazing how much different and unique music can sound when it doesn't follow the standard. "Vibe" is a classic example of this. Using off-timings to create a lopsided foundation adds asymmetrical rhythm your brain can't get enough of decoding. Combine that with clear, powerful sound layers and globally reaching influences and you have music to please you time and again.
The reggae and dub influences exist here, but only in the most minimal of forms. Truthfully, there is so much going on in this music that nailing down a region of origin is fruitless. The moods change so spontaneously and seamlessly that the best course oc action is to sit down and buckle up for the ride. This trail mix of a track offers a bit for everybody and asks you to buckle up during the trek.
This outro track leads the album out in style and flair. Old timey traveling circus performer music seems mixed together with futuristic digitalism with a certain chemical substance used as the glue. Were that every child were blessed with a music box playing such a tune at Christmastime, the world would be a much happier place. Agraman guarantees the surprises aren't over, so listen on.