“Maps of reason” in Merchants of Air

The biography mentions: “Guitars, synths, samples and field recordings processed by two expats lost in Brussels.” I guess there are worse places to get lost in. Brussels is a lively city with more musical entertainment than students skipping school to protest climate change.
‘Maps Of Reason’ is yet another sweet gem, released by Krysalisound (their first on vinyl). With four tracks, ranging between eight and eleven minutes, Tropic Of Coldness; the the duo of Gutman and La Placa, delivers an excellent and soothing ambient album, driving on minimal soundscapes, immersive loops and a calm, serene atmosphere.

I think it’s safe to say that ‘Maps Of Reason’ is a classic ambient album. Gentle layers of sound float in and out in perfect ambient tradition. I guess it’s no surprise when I mention acts like Eluvium and Stars Of The Lid or people like Harold Budd in this review. Opener ‘The Beauty And The Meaning’ is a genre highlight, a perfect piece of music for people who wonder what ambient music is all about, and also a possible fan favorite for ambient aficionados.

The rest of the album drives on similar elements: minimal, abstract and soothing. ‘The Loss Of Empathy’ brings me to people like Aidan Baker and Stratosphere, with their guitar based soundscapes which seem to go on forever. Still, tiny variations make this music interesting and captivating. Perhaps that is the main message in this beautiful album: create a nice sonic trip that invited the listener to be explored again and again. In that, Tropic Of Coldness definitely succeeded.


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