Inifinite Third is the ambient/experimental project of Billy Mays III. Channel(s) is a conglomeration of ambient and post-rock styles that evoke soaring emotive guitar moments mixed with meditative hypnotic stillness. Channel(s), at its core, is Mays improvising the music, letting it flow through him in order to get himself out of the way and subconsciously allow the music to do it’s magic. It’s clear that Mays is influenced by the likes of Mogwai and the minimalism of Eno. He produces spacious, spread out aural landscapes that move from formless to tightly constructed, from explosive to eddying. Beautiful in its execution, Inifinite Third is an ambient/post-rock tour de force.
“Now (then)” opens the album with spoken words in an almost dark and sinister feel. Pulsating drones rise in the background while percussion punctuates the soundscape. This leads directly into “Sentence(s)” with sparse percussion and dreamy, floating guitar drones. This is that moment when you get to hear, for the first time, Mays’ post-rock styling on the album. It is quiet and careful but not, if you know what I mean. There is a patience here that is expressive and ultimately gorgeous. Mays’ choices of electronic drum work alongside the more organic percussion are brilliant. These moments really play themselves out throughout the entire album and, because you can listen to it all here, I won’t give a track by track review but pull out some further highlights for myself as I’ve been really impressed with the album as a whole.
“Dream(s)”, the fifth track on the album, really showcases Mays‘ command of the post-rock genre. Playing on the edges of sounds like those heard in God is an Astronaut or Caspian, Mays blends ambient textures with his post-rock moments that give the genre his own twist. Musically, “Dream(s)” is earnest and hopeful. There are moments where the track goes quieter, creating pauses in those hopeful moments. Perhaps these are hesitation as dreams do fade and are rebuilt, but maybe they are those moments when dreams are realized as one steps back to think for a moment on one’s fate. “Channel(s)”, the titular track, reminds me a lot of a mixture of The Album Leaf and Caspian. Guitars trill in floating reverb and percussion thoughtfully punctuates the aural landscapes. The reverb trails create beautiful drones that eventually bleed into a fuller, more enveloping sound. “Nothing Happened (again)” is the finale to the album and begins with haunting drones with a slight, tinny feedback. Percussion is buried deep in the mix as glacial ambient sounds move slowly over top. It really is a perfect finale to the album as percussion fades, drones come to the fore, and the music fades.
Channel(s) is relentlessly engaging and every track opens up imaginative sound worlds for the listener to explore. Like many albums and artists that come across my desk, Infinite Third was a happy and brilliant surprise. Listen to a full stream of the album below, go to the bandcamp links above, and then purchase a copy of the album in your format of choice.