An Act Of Love by Earthen Sea

Release date: February 17, 2017
Label: Kranky

On his first album for Kranky, musician Jacob Long, operating under the moniker of Earthen Sea, invites the listener into a beautifully dark and meditative album experience.  Utilizing an array of techniques, An Act of Love offers an ever evolving and transforming musical experience, one which uses electronic beats to push forward a somewhat foreboding yet oddly relaxing series of rhythmic exploration of which utilizes ambient drones to push forward the album’s concepts. At times, An Act of Love is a somewhat difficult album to approach, one whose dark ethereal qualities create a sense of unease on occasion, but it is perhaps there in which we find the strong qualities of the album itself.

The utilisation of techno elements in what largely feels like an ambient album can sound somewhat counter-productive on paper, perhaps straying away from what the genre originally stands for. Here though, we see Long masterfully utilizing the many strengths of each genre, and finding a harmonious middle-ground where both can complement each other in the presentation of the albums core concepts. There’s an almost lonely and urban sensibility to the music itself, which in turn helps present a somewhat anxious yet confident set of emotions that makes the whole album experience one worth listening too.

Maybe there are those who strictly like their ambient ‘ambient’, and their techno ‘techno’. Perhaps there are those who are able to see how versatile certain genres can be, and whilst this pairing has been done before by previous artists, it’s how Long himself pairs them all up, and creates an incredibly well structured and cohesive album experience, that we find what makes his work stand out. At times, the album doesn’t feel strictly ambient or electronic, but rather something else entirely, something that’s trying to tackle with almost contradictory elements of life and music.

Long’s first album for Kranky certainly seems to be paving the way for some very interesting explorations of ideas and concepts, and how instrumental music can be utilized to express just about anything. Much of the work (at least for this review) seems to be expressing thought on opposites in life, from the ideas of tension and comfort to the different forms of music being utilized. It’s all resulted in a very interesting and meditative album experience where one can get lost in the darkly comforting ambient techniques, and pushed along by the techno elements.  Simply let the music take you to wherever your mind will allow.

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