David Abir/Ashley Wales The Meld Series: Movement A, Study 3/Landscape

The latest pairing of artists in Sulfur's Meld Series seeks a middle ground between minimalist and ambient music: simple phrases, circular movements and dusky colours that appear to be inspired by a calm stillness. Ashley Wale's "Landscape" is arguably the more rhythmic of the two, sounding as though it were originally set to a junglist bpm. The piece commences with organ-like keys opening up a horizon that livens with a sparkling flourish of bells and the subtle progression of low-toned chords. It's a lot like something taken from the Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II, except that it has much more emotion and dynamic sensibility moving through it. The piece by David Abir, "Lesson One: Movement A, Study 33," takes a classical approach to these themes, with arrangements involving a string ensemble, a solo cello and the choral-like vocals of Rebecca Chamberlain. The melody is similar to "Landscape," but it's treated in a way that's less linear, creating a sphere of sound in which different phases materialise while others vanish throughout its 23 minutes of music. And while the instrumentation appears to be wholly acoustic, Abir seems to be treating the strings electronically, filtering them with thick but sonorous textures reminiscent of the interlude music in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although "Landscape" similarly has that soundtrack quality, it's not as engaging as "Lesson One." But the juxtaposition of both is still the best that has thus far come from this series. (Beggars Banquet)