“Respite” by Anita Tatlow and Be Still the Earth

A delightful ambient piece filled with dreamy vocals and fluttering soundscapes.

Just a few short months after the Sustain compilation, the Ambientologist label has released another excellent collection of ambient music. Anxiety / Hope is a collaboration with the Echoes Blue label (home to Antarctic Wastelands and Salt of the Sound, among others) and is billed as “a carefully curated, concise collection of vocal ambient pieces.”

Anxiety / Hope’s seven tracks boast the talents of Good Weather for an Airstrike, IKSRE, and Karen Vogt, but its opening number is the one to which I keep returning. “Respite” is aptly titled, with Anita Tatlow’s dreamy voice drifting across Be Still the Earth’s fluttering soundscapes, which bring to mind lovesliescrushing’s gentler, more contemplative moments.

It’s really just a delightful piece, especially when additional elements like field recordings and music box tones make themselves known. With its short runtime, “Respite” never wears out its welcome, but remains short and sweet — and proof that ambient compositions don’t need to go to extensive lengths to feel vast and expansive.

Anxiety / Hope will be released on January 24, 2023.

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