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Know Your Product: Ken Seeno, Invisible Surfer On An Invisible Wave (NNA Tapes)

March 15, 2011
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Ken Seeno's Invisible Surfer On an Invisible Wave might, at first, look like another contribution to that chillwave/glo-fi/whatever movement that’s still kicking around (beach-themed, cassette-released) but Seeno’s sound–patient, sophisticated, and pointedly clean–is more like a Fripp and Eno’s Evening Star on a budget.

“Everything Is Changing All the Time,” pairs humble horns with gurgling, swampy synths, sustaining a mood somewhere between melancholy and contented. “Either Something Or Nothing Here,” employs a frog’s croak for some light, earthy percussion. “Sunset at Truck Patch” is Terry Riley meeting up with the music found at a Chinese food buffet. Basically, it’s go-for-broke with it’s ambient moodiness and, as a result, is just a lot less bullshit than most of the hypnagogic releases with which it’ll inevitably be lumped.

Though comparisons to Seeno’s group Ponytail are pretty much moot here, there’s actually a similar fusion of whirling disparate sounds, only the goal isn’t cracked-out chaos but stoner contemplation. Positive new age vibes dominate, in the thin waves of synthesizer and crisp guitar and the atmospheric song titles (“The Ocean After the Storm,” “Stained Glass Window”), and though that’s gonna get some eye rolls, music like this should be revived and made significant again because it can be really moving stuff. It just doesn’t need nostalgic conceits and Tumblr-era irony wrapped around it. Thankfully, Invisible Surfer On an Invisible Wave has none of that.

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