Memories by VipidRelease date: October 2, 2020
Ambient albums often walk on thin ice. Artists working within the genre have to watch their step all the way through, particularly if they include elements of beat and melody. If they move too much to one of the thinner layers, they will end up in formless doodling that goes nowhere fast (or slow, depending). Another thin layer, particularly if they sweeten their melody too much will take them into that for so many dreaded territories of the new age. Too, many beats, well, that you may ask yourself – is it ambient anymore?
California artist Jared Simmons, aka Vipid, tries to answer that question on Memories, his latest release. Based on the music here, he is patiently trying to walk that thin line, using all the above-named elements, space, and elongated lines, melody, and beats. And he makes it through practically unscathed. Whenever he reaches thinner parts, like with the beat parts on ‘Dawn’, he quickly pulls his foot, or you could say fingers on the keyboard, back toward a great melody run, and tempo change.
But most of the time, he is taking the right path(s), like on ‘Internity’, self-explanatory ‘Late Night’ or ‘Lavender Sunset’. Electronic lines are quite mellifluous, beats subdued and the ambient atmosphere just comes around all by itself. Comparisons? You could say, Boards of Canada, with another slight does of melody
Simmons says that the album is “inspired by reflection on and transmutation of the past.” On Memories’, Vipid doesn’t try to paint his personal memories with too many, either rosy or dark colors, and makes a good walk over the thin (ambient) ice.