A Lush Sound Collage
An eighteen-year old Jack Colleran began uploading his work to SoundCloud in 2010. Although still raw and unpolished, his absorbing brand of electronica eventually garnered attention from labels, managers and listeners alike. Six years later, after a string of EPs and stylistic refinements, Colleran has released his first full-length album under the moniker MMOTHS.
Luneworks takes significant cues from both electronic dance music and ambient minimalism, yet Colleran balances these respective genres’ compositional approaches so that his work never overwhelmingly favors one or the other. He blends gorgeously spacious atmospheric layers with occasionally upbeat percussion and electronic samples. “1709” employs staccato melodies to capture the excitement of a dance track, while “Body Studies’’ even offers a drop-like moment around its halfway mark.
However despite some of its more mainstream qualities, Luneworks manages to maintain a strikingly minimalist and ethereal tone throughout its entirety. Dense soundscapes paint each track with a level of textural complexity that rarely exists in popular dance music. “Deu” uses sustained organ tones and warbled vocals to create a deeply spacious feel. “Para Polaris” embellishes a simple, two-chord progression by gradually adding highly compelling digital textures. “Verbena” offers an eclectic mix of synth drones, intensely-panned piano and modulated vocal harmonies.
Colleran truly manages to capture a diverse range of electronic sounds. In doing so, he is able to frame rather static song structures in a provocative manner. Despite certain songs’ repetitive progressions (e.g. “Para Polaris,” “Lucid”), they rarely feel stale due to the impressive variety of sounds that Colleran incorporates.
Vocals further enrich Luneworks’ lush atmospheres. While singing is present on the majority of its tracks, it is employed unconventionally. The lyrics are rarely audible. The melodies are understated. In fact, Colleran buries vocal samples so far in the mix that they function more as an additional instrumental texture. This unique approach prevents Luneworks’ vocals from ever becoming a distracting presence, as can be the case with some more popular forms of music. Even Colleran’s more dynamic vocal performances – such as that heard on “Ohm” – are relatively subdued, ensuring that the listener can focus on the subtler nuances of his digital soundscapes.
MMOTHS’s debut album is a highly immersive and cohesive ambient listening experience. Its songs transition beautifully and thoughtfully, while its soundscapes maintain a sense of wonder and delicacy. Even Luneworks’ slower moments are saved by Colleran’s hypnotizing blend of electronic sounds. Fans of EDM, ambient and noise art would all do well to give this one a listen.