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Stray Theories - Album Review: All That Was Lost

18 May 2018 // A review by butch181

This album opens with How Long, and almost displays itself like a tease. A slow burning track that lifts in volume ever so tenderly that you have to fight the urge to increase the volume yourself. It takes nearly two minutes before it reaches full volume and reaches its plateau. Uplifting synth chords that hold throughout with some lingering keys layered over the top. Simple but beautiful and contemplative.

Challenge picks up the pace, with a more reduced ambient backdrop. Plucked strings take to the forefront keeping the beat. Despite the feel of a faster tempo, All That Was Lost is not in a rush, it isn’t out to prove anything. It exists as it needs to be. It takes its time to build and as Challenge passes the halfway point in the track, the atmosphere shifts and becomes darker, foreboding.

Nightstate almost continues with that sense of foreboding, waiting, observing. Tense and suspenseful, the layers are many, the sounds are minimal, but the effect of the tone is emotionally thick and heavy.

All That Was Lost is a fulfilling release. Full of ambiance and emotion, the tracks vary in length from just over two minutes, to nearly six and a half minutes, with an average closer to the four-and-a-half-minute mark. Full-bodied textured soundscapes, with an unhurried deliberate build in each song (with the exception of Begin, which lacks the lead in that the rest of the album employs), the album has a mood-altering affect; contemplative, triumphant, and wistful. All are experienced as time passes.

Ending with Us, the album concludes its journey on a positive note, with a sense of completion and achievement. Architect of Stray Theories, Micah Templeton-Wolfe, uses synthetic noises to simulate a similar sound to that of the song of birds, almost off-putting due to the piercing similarity to the sound one can hear when attempting to “pop” one's ears due to pressure changes, but a touch of genius in terms of metaphorical messaging.

Well-paced, cinematic, textured soundscapes for surreal, emotive journeys. This album makes effective use of its whitespace in impassioned storytelling. Delicate but resilient. My words can only go so far.

Review written by Alex Moulton


About Stray Theories

Stray Theories is a project of New Zealand based, Australian Musician and Composer Micah Templeton-Wolfe.

From cinematic soundscapes to experimental electronica, his atmospheric ambient music has appeared in a wide range of media including Film & Documentary Soundtracks, Commercials, Sound Design Projects and Art Installations.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stray Theories


Year: 2022
Type: EP
This Light
Year: 2021
Type: Album
All That Was Lost
Year: 2018
Type: Album
We Never Left
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Those Who Remain
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Even Though We Sleep
Year: 2012
Type: Album

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