Ambient and drone music really is a way of life. I’m not the expert on the team, but more than most other genres I can think of, they channel life and more through specific sounds, progressions, and moods, saying a hell of a lot with a little. It can be heavy and sundering, it can be airy and spacious, but it’s always thought-provoking. What is it trying to convey? Is what’s being conveyed represented in the music positively or negatively? How much room is there for interpretation?

Releasing on April 11 via Aesthetic Death, the album Waterline by France’s Eventide is one such album that channels all of the above stemming from purposeful improvisation brought on by ideas birthed through the recording sessions of the members’ other band, Epitaphe, a decidedly… different band than Eventide are! We’re here to happily premiere the whole album today for y’all five days in advance so I’d suggest sitting back for a few, take a break on this surely mundane Monday (see, those words even rhyme), and bask in Waterline with me.

Recorded live (except for the title track and very few overdubs), Waterline is wondrous, a real trip for the senses despite only one of them actually being engaged. Eventide are as sonic experts on this album, building exquisite progressions for each of Waterline‘s four conjoined songs to traverse, marking the ebb and flow of life with post-rock-esque crescendos, ethereal saxophone usage, and diverse textures that tell a story. What that story is, is mostly up to interpretation.

“Eventide” is serene at first with some neat vocal touches to boot, though it carries complication with it. On one hand it offers a relaxing, serene introduction, on the other it has a grating darkness that’s explored with howling instruments, but always laced with a melodic sax that breaks through the noise in the best way. It’s a great representation of nighttime in that sense, where the calm can quickly be broken by the stir of danger or overwhelming liveliness. Waterline‘s title track is robust and flavorful, sonically at odds with “Eventide”, but still providing a delightful throughline for the album. It’s the connective tissue that holds everything together, but still has something unique to say in its own right. The wail of the instruments is more curious now, reminding me of something Chris Christodoulou would do, but there’s also an more profound jazz influence here with the drums of the center of the song and the arpeggiated sax that sounds more tense than ever. This is my favorite track and shows the depth that rests in the hands of Eventide as a band.

If that’s not enough jazz for you, then “Adrift” has your back – it’s a piano-led interlude that’s not nearly as action-oriented as “Waterline”, but instead makes good on its name with a relaxing approach. Reverb-soaked synths sound like rushes of wind brushing past you, carrying you toward the end of the album with “Sphere”. This is a song that burns bright – the sunrise of delicate synths turn to a more oppressive heat as the track warms up and incorporates more instruments. The midsection is quite busy just like our own days, and the buzzing guitars mixed with the oscillating synths call forth a light anxiety that I’m sure resonates with a lot of us. The gentler end of the track, and therefore the album, is an awesome closer that also loops well into the beginning of “Eventide” for another journey.

Just like its album art above, Waterline meanders and twists in the most astute ways, always offering something new that feels connected with what came before and what comes after. The color palette is also quite indicative of the sounds you hear on the album mixing the smoky grays of the overall atmosphere with the blue-tinted synths, all stemming from white-hot instrumental noise you’re often assailed with. Of the album, Eventide say it’s a ‘journey in constant motion, which evolves, unfolds and cycles between drone, experimental electronics & dark-jazz atmospheres‘, something I think they’ve nailed with Waterline.

If you enjoyed this album as much as I did, you can follow the band on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to take a look at their Bandcamp and give it a follow to stay apprised of more music that hopefully follows in the future. Waterline officially comes out on Friday, April 11 via Aesthetic Death and you can still preorder the album digitally and physically on CD through the Bandcamp link above.

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

"I came up and so could you, and fuck the boys in blue" - RMR

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