Incredibly peaceful, slightly forgettable
It’s a common misconception that ambient only exists as background music. To be certain, it is calmer and less intrusive than a majority of genres, but excellent ambient does more than just fade into the ether. Great ambient is like a painters palette, coloring the world with new shades and hues, enhancing what already exists rather than replacing it with something new. The experimental scene has always skirted close to the realm of ambient, deploying its charms in myriad ways to wildly differing effects, NYLONANDJUNO fits perfectly in the middle.
At first blush, the album doesn’t really strike out to be ambient. Instead of the opening track “Hitch Your Wagon to a Falling Star” perfectly cuts through the center of post-rock and ambient, creating a lush soundscape that almost starts to fall away as it proceeds. It seems intent on dragging the listener further into daydreams, and away from the menial trappings of reality. The second track “Change of Address / 433 Eros” is less lulling than its predecessor, but still maintains a sort of dreamlike quality hidden in its repetitive nature. This is where the majority of this record’s appeal is derived. By crafting interesting soundscapes that largely repeat and change ever so slightly, it invites a haze over the consciousness of the listener, and for something so strange it fills the empty spaces rather compellingly.
Sometimes, the strength of this album does revert to a weakness. It is not ambient in the same way that Disintegration Loops or Music for Installations is, but it can occasionally take on the same qualities. The issue is that because of the more complex and upfront elements on this album, particularly on tracks like “Geese Over Sunlight Ace” and “Dry Gulched on Rodeo Drive” it feels unfortunate to have it fade away. If you catch yourself doing something else while this record plays, it is almost certain to fizzle away into the background noiselessly. While this might be great situationally, it does lead to a forgettable experience. Where one can recall specific moments of Pentastar: In the Style of Demons or Music for Airports, it is difficult to bring to mind any specific moment from NYLONANDJUNO.
There are, of course, worse problems to have than NYLONANDJUNO does. By and large, the record is gorgeous and lush. It creates engaging soundscapes that capture and ignite the imagination. But the moment the needle hits the sticker, all memory of the record fades. It is a Narnia of sorts, when you are there, perhaps nothing could feel more real, but provided enough time it disappears entirely, but at least the scenery is beautiful while you look at it.