Looking for the perfect ambient music to fit your studying needs? Look no further! Pastoral, the latest LP by the Georgia group Applesauce Tears, is the full package. This album shifts the focus from metropolitan sounds of the band’s previous album (Commuters, 2017) to the rural countryside. Listening is an engaging experience, but not in an overbearing manner; rather, it’s as if your subconscious is relaxing on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
A tantalizing blend of nature and psychedelia, Pastoral tells a story without the need for words. Though certain tracks feature ethereal, half-whispered vocal samples, the album is largely instrumental, incorporating a lush array of synths, keyboards, strings, horns, and drums. The LP also incorporates an incredibly variety of sound samples to set the mood. In “I’m Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm Part Time,” the occasional sheep or dog is audible; “False Foxglove” is underlaid with the nighttime chirp of crickets and cicadas ever-present in the backwoods; and “Our Cabin in the Woods” features a variety of bird calls.
Pastoral is especially impressive because each song is self-withstanding. Often in ambient albums, songs blend into one another to the point of indistinguishability. This is not the case on this LP; the transitions between songs are somehow seamless but distinct, largely because of how unique each song is. If the album tells a story, then each song is a chapter with a discrete theme. Considering that this is the seventh full-length record by Applesauce Tears, the band’s ability to continue generating so much original and compelling content is miraculous.
This is an album in which you can lose yourself and then find yourself again in a perpetual cycle. The atmospheric, wordless tracks can easily be pushed to a back burner of the mind while reading or even writing, but they withstand the pressure of undivided attention just as well. On top of that, the intricate details weaving the structure of every song occasionally draw the listener back to reality and out of the hypnotic lull of full musical immersion.
Recommended If You Like: Washed Out, Caribou, Glass Animals
Recommended Tracks: 1 (I’m Gonna Work on Maggie’s Farm Part Time), 6 (Frontier Poets), 7 (False Foxglove), 10 (Have You Met Meadow?)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Jaya Chakka on 02/09/2018