Review

Earthen Sea

Ghost Poems

Kranky • 2022

When it comes to ambient, you’re usually sure that you know what you are going to get when you see the word written down somewhere: ephemeral and dreamy, seemingly drifting freely without any recognisable beat or other rhythmic restraint. The fact that ambient has long since embraced a multitude of styles and sub-genres is sometimes lost sight of. In the case of the project Earthen Sea by US musician Jacob Lang, applying ambient to it as a label would basically be the right thing to do. Yet his music, the concept of which can be quite clearly defined, can hardly be compared to what Pete Namlook, Gas or Lustmord, by way of example, have produced or produce in the realm of ambient. Jacob Lang essentially has three key ingredients: looped chords, often alienated by minimal disruptive effects, a very rudimentary beat and background noises in the form of crackling or crunching. All in all, his music is strongly introspective. If you absolutely want to, you could call it »glitch ambient«, most likely to be compared with the releases by his New York colleague Ezekiel Honig. And quite resolutely executed: with Earthen Sea, you don’t have to ask yourself much about what will happen after the first track. In his case, this is as reassuring as it is pleasing.