Oddly sensuous in their uneven arrangement and constantly bearing more texture than any of their melodic counterparts in the master mix (somehow), there’s something particularly enamoring about the beats we hear in the title track of Bitter Lake, the latest release from ambient musician and Londoner Bloom’s Taxonomy. Often obscured by the shards of sonic noise that adorn most every song here, the grooves in Bitter Lake nevertheless manage to define the moodiness of this record in a way that no other instrumental component could have. This isn’t experimental ambient music for kids – in my opinion, this new record by Bloom’s Taxonomy is one of the more mature offerings of its kind out right now.
I absolutely adore the juxtaposition of tones and textures in “Love and Grace Machine,” the darkly intimidating “Spominiks” and cosmopolitan “Taurus-Littrow.” There’s almost nothing as stimulating in the sonic ethers as contrast, and you don’t have to be an expert music critic to appreciate that when listening to any of the songs featured on Bitter Lake. Bloom’s Taxonomy knows that, in order to communicate a narrative far too monolithic in style for simplistic poetry to cover, he’s got to be as inventive as the giants who set the tone for this genre decades ago, and here, he does a remarkably good job (especially considering the difficulty of the task at hand).
When played through without any interruptions from the outside world, Bitter Lake’s heavier material – like “Burgess Park” and “Love and Grace Machine” – have an almost unignorably progressive feel to their designs. The EP is perhaps even more exciting when played on shuffle, if for no other reason than running into eruptive, moderately streamlined moments like those in “Balconies” when we’re not expecting them. Some artists want to make genre-focused music, but others like Bloom’s Taxonomy have too lofty an ambition to take the easy route to stardom.
Performing a lot of this material could pose some serious challenges in a live setting, but all the same, I’d really love to hear him give it a shot anyway. As previously noted, tracks like “Balconies” and “Taurus-Littrow” aren’t as left-field as their stylistic counterparts on this record are, and when meshed together into a single setlist, I don’t see why Bloom’s Taxonomy couldn’t create something thoroughly spellbinding in the right venue. I hope to find out for myself in the near future, and if his professional momentum continues to grow like it has been, I’m going to get my wish.
If Bitter Lake is presenting us with a sample of what Bloom’s Taxonomy’s extended career is going to look and sound like, you can definitely put me down for more from this boldly talented London artist. He’s coming up against more competition than any of his American rivals would know what to do with in the European underground this spring, but with the chops he shows off in this EP, my gut tells me he’s going to do just fine on his own. I’ll be staying tuned, and I doubt I’ll be the only new fan doing so.