I love a good ambient concept album – the kind that is so intense and entrancing that you seem to lose track and sense of time, enveloped in the music that surrounds you. Méon’s When Each At Least Unto Himself Shall Waken is a perfect example of the kind of concept album I enjoy listening to on a regular basis. Don’t be fooled by the fact that there are only three separate songs; this LP clocks in at a remarkable 32+ minutes, and features such variation that you won’t mind listening to the whole thing from beginning to end and indeed, might miss some importance nuances if processed any other way.
“Within We Go, We Go Without” opens with a heavy, thick buzzing that swirls in and out and from side to side, creating a mood of doom and leaving you wondering what exactly you’ve signed up for here. The atmosphere is broken up by samples from what sound like old black and white films/shows, even including typical theme music from the time. Soft guitars strum meaningfully as the samples continue. Patience is rewarded, as you have to wait until roughly seven minutes in to hear a pleasing alternative rock riff that changes subtly in speed from movement to the next.
That song calms down again and transitions cleanly into “Nothing Changes but Clock Hands That Move Implacably from Twelve to One,” which features more prominent guitar work than previously shown. Over the next minutes, you are treated to wavering notes that glide through the air and pulse in the background, intercepted by a few (albeit seemingly short) minutes of ambiance that once again crash into a wailing guitar rhythm. The low end is superb during these portions. It concludes with a remarkably fitting sample, much along the vein of samples interspersed throughout.
In “The Man At the Edge of the Desert,” you are introduced to a haunting piano melody supported by the ambient sound we’ve grown to love over the past 26+ minutes. This breaks into a decidedly frenetic blend of high and low guitars, what sounds like a violin, the continued piano tune and punching bass notes. It eases out softly and gently, leaving you feeling as winded as you would if you actually played it yourself.
I was having a rather bad day before I picked this up to listen to it; the frenzy of life was far too stressful. This was an extremely cathartic album and when I was finished, I felt strangely bright and happier despite the wailing undertones. The music had reached down to my core and vibrated from within. If you’re looking for something soothing yet exciting, and interesting enough to listen to in a dark room, but also ambient enough to play while doing work, this is the album for you.
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