Ambient Land




Roland Voss aka Lemongrass is able to bewilder and mildly annoy his fanbase in similar ways as Aphex Twin Richard D. James regularly does by releasing an output of music that is extremely versatile and possibly cannot collectively please even the most diehard fan. While Lemongrass‘ music is not as varied as James‘ conglomeration released under various monikers, he is aware of the cream-skimming by his fanbase and offers a collection of his melodious Ambient tunes on Ambient Land that foreshadows a later release in 2009 called Hypnosis, in which all the tracks are reunited alongside similarly mellow songs with more dominant percussion. Those songs frequently venture into the realms rabid Ambient fans generally dislike: Lounge, Jungle, NuJazz, Easy Listening and anything in-between. Even though the Ambient songs are torn out of their context, they work all the more well when they are presented on an EP that is released beforehand. As I've stated above, Lemongrass‘ Ambient Land EP is the predecessor to the album Hypnosis which is also worth a listen, as it features additional Ambient songs that could have been included on Ambient Land as well if these songs had been finished and polished in 2007 already. 5 songs made it to the EP, all of them being winners.


Polar Nights is based on different concretive piano loops and fragile, bright synthesizer strings, both ingredients that usually enforce melancholy and solitude but instead form a soothing, ever so slightly larking atmosphere. The piano gives the song a sublime quality and the loops are diverse enough for not sounding cheaply or rushed into the mix. Eclipse Of The Sun, the longest track with over 8 minutes of playtime, heats things up by trying to bring warmth and ardency into the EP with the use of antithetic strings: fragile and charily on one side, broad and swirling on the other. Surprisingly, this song is based less on loops but more on meandering carpets of sounds with slight changes. Definitely the most elaborate track on an otherwise strongly loop-based EP. The following Coral Reef is a fantastic track and definitely the best example that repetitive and potentially boring loops can work splendidly well when they are of hypnotic quality. Here, the entire 4-minute track is based on a 17-second loop that is perpetually repeated and remains entirely unchanged during its runtime.Vibrant synth strings and a silky 3-note motif make this loop intensely warm. I doubt that I could listen to it for hours, but the 4 minutes rush by very quickly and I wouldn‘t have minded a double playtime at all. Lake Of Lava has another high-pitched 3-note melody and a consistently warm soundscape that subsides in the last third of the track and makes place for much deeper synths and flittering, rattling howlings. Yet again, the listener is embraced by energetic heat. The title might be an exaggeration, but you get the point: this is cozy Ambient. The final track, Moonwalk, closes Ambient Land in a similar way as Polar Nights started it, in a more melancholic mood with the return of alloted piano notes and a slightly depressive echoey melody, yet again realized with just 3 notes. Due to the fragility of the soundscape and the relative quietness of the synths, Moonwalk draws out the concept of emptiness and loneliness and closes the EP with these emotions.


Ambient Land is a beautiful EP and will suit the needs of those who like melodious, loop-driven and synth-laden Ambient-scapes (buddy, watch the hyphens) in the fashion similar to Kompakt‘s Pop Ambient compilations. Be aware, though, that this release could also be deemed as Ambient by numbers, for Lemongrass doesn‘t bring any surprising or shocking revelation to the roster. However, he is more than able to create astonishing tunes – especially Coral Reef – with the same ingredients that are on-hand for other Ambient producers as well. If you are fed up with loops, you might give Eclipse Of The Sun a try, for this tune is the exact opposite, namely a meandering piece with differently tweaked and carefully modified synth sections, so that it qualifies as background music but at the same time treats the attentive listener with varying tidbits. A second Ambient Land EP called Ambient Land 2, released in 2010, is also worth your consideration.




Ambient Review 007: Lemongrass – Ambient Land (2007). Originally published on Dec. 18, 2011 at AmbientExotica.com.