Point Pleasant is the solo ambient project of Dominic Deane a.k.a. Ten. Hailing from Leeds, Deane began composing experimental and ambient music in 2009. Solemn is the follow up to Point Pleasant’s Mythology that was released in May of this year. Solemn is a minimalist sound cathedral, with long, winding drones that subtly variate and have few layers. Brilliant in its starkness, Deane is able to capture emotive moments with a light hand.
Solemn begins with the longest track on the album entitled “Kaprekar” which clocks in at 6:16. The deep, abiding rumbles of the composition undergird almost metallic shimmering synths and a humming, floating drone. Textural variations play amid these parallel, long form sounds, peering in and out of the soundscape. Each subtle sound moves in to create a minimal layering. “Voynich” is ghostly, humming into the speakers with an ethereal brightness. The track hypnotizes, with high end noises leading the listener to it’s inevitable resolution that leads to a fade and then the rise of the next track “Salish”. “Salish” breaks the more silent tones with a crunching rumble that devolves into a slightly growling deep tone. The growling texture ungulates along the bottom of the soundscape with swirling synths taking a ride atop. This is the kind of track that I long for in ambient music. The combination of tonal choices and subtle textures are just stunning.
“Lukta” is a shimmering affair with swells that move up and down in the soundscape. The shimmering is wrapped in a warm, soft white noise that lifts with it and falls. Deep rumbles lie beneath like belabored beasts moving the track along. “Utymme” begins with a more synthetic feel, with throbbing trills of electronic sounds. Ringing, like circling the rim of a glass, emerges at intervals. The timings in the throbbing trills give the track the feel of a march or of movement. “Nagra” brings an edge to its introduction, with fuzzed out tones that oscillate between speakers. When not prominent, it sits below the surface, ever present and threatening to leap forward again. Wind addled drones and wispy like voices populate the soundscapes as an eerie tone dominates this piece. “Nagra” is slightly ominous in the way prior tracks were not but in that tension is a beauty that Deane has the skills to evoke.
“Varld” begins with a swirling hum laden in a coarse sonic texture that repeats over a very subtle drone. There is, here, an urgency and uncomfortableness too. The wind-like tones blow through as the thumping tones move in and out of the soundscape. “Sotra” is subtler, with sonic reverberations floating over a river of ambient noise. Low rumbles return as a constant here. “Cryo” is just one of those soothing ambient compositions that bathe the listener in a calm, enveloping aural blanket. It is a beautifully composed penultimate track that leads to the end of the sonic journey. “Ahuna” is the conclusion to Solemn and it, too, is a calming piece but with a bit more variation. Tones are louder and more up front as they burst into the speakers and then fall away to an almost silent pause. It’s a very different sort of ambient track that soothes without the continuous drones that one associates with the genre. It is a wonderfully creative conclusion to the album.
Dominic Deane a.k.a. Ten as Point Pleasant produces lush, abstract, minimalistic soundscapes that are emotive and captivating. Solemn is a very strong sophomore album that already leaves me wanting to hear more. Sophisticated in its sparseness, Solemn is bound to become a classic in the ambient genre. It will be released on limited cassette and digital on September 15th.