Karl Verkade is a Los Angeles-based artist, focusing on ambient, experimental, and post-rock music. He is most recognized with his work in film and has score credits on such films as “1000 Blisters.” Today we are going to be focusing on his recent work entitled Collection II, which is a collection of ambient tunes that were created with guitars and voice. Impressively the sound we are hearing is all coming through the amps he is playing. Collections II is comprised of four songs; the first song being almost twice as long as the other three songs combined. Most impressive about this album is the amount of changes and places he manages to go with his guitar.
The first track “Under Two Skies” floats along with a reverb drenched guitar that takes advantage of the delay pedal. It sort of reminded me of what David Gilmore would sound like without the rest of Pink Floyd. The 38 minutes is pleasant however at times I was hoping to hear sounds that didn’t remind me so much of a guitar. I did feel that the songs could have benefitted from a couple of different textures. That being said he is clearly a gifted guitarist who choses the tools that he has and definitely creates a journey of peaks and valleys for the listener to ride. I really like the second song “Revana (Embrace the Weak)” which was a guitar drone based number covered in melancholy and nostalgia. The different parts work well together as a unified whole which is something that ambient music should always try and make work. I think my favorite track was the last entitled “Escape” which was the darkest amongst the songs and a cool way to close the album. Collections II is a good ambient album that puts the guitar center stage while creating a variety of analog landscapes that would be impossible to create in the digital domain.
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