Melbourne, Australia-based ambient producer Nico Callaghan is back on the perennially strange Orange Milk label with an LP's worth of soothing tunes that play out like low-key dance music with the beats stripped away.
In a Silent Way is a synth-derived album (the only other instrument specifically mentioned is Joseph Buchan's tenor saxophone) that condenses from vapour, slowly filling the listener's eardrum with its gentle arpeggios. The music's gaseous and rarefied nature is evocative of the blurry, dream-like cover art created by label co-founder Keith Rankin, with its multi-coloured steam and dripping, blood-like cherry juice. Appearing on a number of tracks is a warped, "wooden flute coated in icicles" sort of synth sound that really pushes to the fore tastefully on the album's title track.
This idiosyncratic tone, interspersed amidst a palette of clearly artificial sounds (both dreamy and arresting), serves to anchor the music to the present reality, ensuring the listener doesn't stray too far into nocturnal reverie or futuristic wool-gathering. So, while In a Silent Way is certainly steeped in a forward-thinking vision, Callaghan has sprinkled a clever dose of new age signifiers into the music to keep his listeners from floating away to outer space completely. (Orange Milk)