Todd Chappell aka The Ideal Setback creates immeasurable, contemplative soundscapes on his fifth album In Fractal. Imagine if you combined Stars Of The Lid and Julianna Barwick; that would a very accurate description of what this album sounds like. Like Stars of the Lid, Chappell prefers to create soundscapes that emerge into a singularity of sound. There are layers here but they aren’t usually recognized as disparate elements. The music evolves and devolves like an organism over time.
Chappell did all the production himself. He recorded, mixed and mastered the album. I think he did an excellent job on this music and I would rate the quality as very good. It’s very good but not great. There were some slight issues regarding separation and use of reverb that basically separates these recordings from something Stars Of The Lid would have released. The differences are minor and probably only something certain people would recognize but still should be addressed.
Other than the minor issues with production In Fractal is a beautiful album that I can find little to complain about. In Fractal can really be broken into two separate parts. I viewed the first three songs as the first act and the last six as the second. The first track “Proponent Of The Arcane Opposite” is a gorgeous mix of angelic vocals, synths and other elements. This was the track that brought Julianna Barwick to mind. “Where We Lay, A Hole In Our Horizon” is a dynamic, repetitive piece that rides a wave of tranquility into “A See Through View, Made Metaphors,” which is less atmospheric but more reliant on the interplay of chords and notes.
The fourth track “In Fractal, I” is where the next journey starts. It sounds cosmic, vast and majestic but all the while being incredibly minimal. From here on out the transitions are seamless as one song bleeds into another only to mutate into another variation of the strain. There are highs and lows but nothing ever feels too far from where you started.
I must empathize that tracks four through nine should be listened to in sequential order. The journey much like life itself takes you through different shades of emotion that language can’t completely convey. Highly recommended.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook