Dreamlike ambience perfect for summer afternoons and introspective star-gazing nights, the delicate and ethereal music of Dear Amber was crafted entirely in a personal bedroom studio, beginning in late 2011. The project began and still resides in Ballwin, Missouri. Intensely sentimental and surreal, on his new EP entitled Shine the music flows straight through you from the moment you hit play and leaves a lasting impression. Amidst a lot of ambient musicians that strive to paint with their creativity and technological devices such deeply atmospheric, moody soundscapes, Dear Amber is arguably one of the few who succeeds soaringly at it. Similarities to Adam Young's ambient side project Port Blue will inevitably be noted immediately, particularly on the track "Oceanic Ballroom," which illustrates such vivid images of walking along a beach, listening to the crashing yet soothing waves, that it may be the musical equivalent of holding a conch shell to your ear. There are even various true-to-life ambient noises recorded that made it onto the album, and on this track, this includes the cries of gulls. The mood is set, and the music subtly pushes it higher, allowing your imagination to take wing.
Strangely, Dear Amber's inspiration is said to derive more from realism than surrealism, but I suppose this almost makes sense. Long, immersive nature walks, as well as the bustle and chaos of city life, all imbedded themselves within the band's consciousness and served to create a palate of influence that ultimately weaved its way into tracks like "Back in the Day." The sense one receives from this record is one of juxtaposed truth and fiction. "Sunset's Odyssey" flies so freely away from anything concrete that it sounds like the daydreams one might have while struggling to remain grounded, given a musical form. But the brief glimpses of very honest reality thrown in, such as the opening and closing of a bedroom door to signify the beginning and end of a track, bring you back to earth.
There is always an extremely light, elevated feeling, as though you are listening to music inviting you to reach beyond your limits and lose yourself amidst the clouds. The only moment on the EP that treads darker waters is the title track, which is rather unexpectedly heavy and calls to mind images of grey rainstorms or trudging through an autumnal cityscape rather than summer sunshine and cloudless skies. It is, in a sense, the perfect comedown from the euphoric high that the rest of this dizzyingly beautiful collection of songs provides.
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