19 Aug 2019
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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 the musical pseudonym of Micah Templeton-Wolfe, an Australian ambient producer/composer residing in New Zealand.

He has been composing and releasing music for over a decade and his ambient soundscapes have been released on many labels throughout the world. He also has many on-going collaborations and remix projects, in addition to his work composing music for film/media and performing his experimental/ambient projects live.

Heavily influenced by minimal ambient, post-rock, shoegaze & modern classical, his music is a fusion of uplifting melodic ambience & dark/melancholic soundscapes.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stray Theories

Releases

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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