At netlabelism, I have yet to write about music by someone I know personally. Perhaps it’s because I feel I might be a bit biased in my approach to the music, or maybe it’s because in the realm of netaudio there’s so much to sift through I just haven’t gotten around to it. For this article, I’m showcasing a release by Jacob Newman, a Colorado-based electronic musician whose music falls largely within the ‘ambient’ category and someone with whom I’ve collaborated in the past.
To say Newman’s influences stem from electronic/ambient masters such as Brian Eno or Pete Namlook would be oversimplifying. Newman finds inspiration in many things, not least of which are sounds found in nature. His work is more organic, warm, and analogue than digital (even though both analogue and digital elements are typically present). For production, some of his signature instruments include the Waldorf Microwave XT synth as well as a Fender P-Bass, run through a BlueTube preamp into a mac-top running Ableton Live, where virtual synths and effects also accompany his music.
Against a Quantized Sky is one of a few full releases and/or collaborations by Newman and was released off the Audio Gourmet netlabel from the UK in 2011. Audio Gourmet’s tag-line is “a netlabel to showcase a collection of short albums and ep’s that can be listened to in full during a standard working tea-break.” Thusly, Quantized clocks in under 15 minutes giving the listener enough time to escape into a realm of intricate, thoughtful solitude… a quick, calming fix for settling down during a workday break. Much of Newman’s music is also influenced by concepts of infinity, subconsciousness, and drift, as all tracks on this short album demonstrate. Of particular note is “Visions of Purslane” (purslane being an eatable herb or weedy nuisance depending on who you ask), which surrounds the listener with a balance of carefully placed string plucks and shimmering reverb creating a warm, earthy mental landscape.
Against a Quantized Sky will likely be found to work well with most ambient playlists; and due to its shorter length, I recommend listening in-full to experience the moment(s) presented on the album in their entirety. So put on your headphones, and think of it as a tea-break with a series of delicately complex aromas, flavors, and sounds.
Jacob Newman – “Visions of Purslane”