Philipp Kessler is an ambient producer from Switzerland and he calls his sound “ambient space music”. It’s a pretty apt name, and it’s pretty clear that he is interested in space and ambient space sounds. This has been going on for nine albums now where the release covers are images of space and planets and they’re all named after space stuff, too. That said, Philipp Kessler has also become extremely good at making “ambient space music”, an well he should.
Kessler’s newest release, “Pulsar” is, not surprisingly, spacey and ambient. The track is rather more sparse than his earlier offerings, however, with more space (pardon the pun) between notes and beat. Sparse as it is, “Pulsar” is quite complex and sophisticated as Kessler balances this open space in the track with its sonic elements in a way that reflects the likes of Tangerine Dream or Phillip Glass. The beat, because the track is so much about ambient noise, is mostly a time-keeper for the track. It’s not even done on a conventional beat-making instrument or program like a bass or drum track. It is, in fact, more bleepy bloopy space noises. Well played, Kessler.
The melody on “Pulsar” is also very spacey-sounding, and almost provides more grounding for the track than the synth which creates the beat. There are also a number of seemingly random ambient space sounds sort of whizzing by, seemingly intended to create or mimic the seemingly random sounds in actual space. There is a bassline, surprisingly, but it’s different than one would expect as it makes up sort of a counter-melody which again helps anchor the track in the absence of an actual musical beat. This is all likely on purpose, as there are precious few pulsars out in space which have discernable pulses or beats. If this were a song about a planet, however, musically-inclined astrophysicists might take issue with Kessler.
“Pulsar” is another well-crafted track from Philipp Kessler with a core theme of space, and though his sound is quite stolidly and ubiquitously “ambient space music”, listeners who have followed Kessler’s discography will see a definite evolution of sound and technique in “Pulsar.”
“Pulsar” is out now and can be streamed or purchased on Philipp Kessler’s Bandcamp page.
Written by Layla Marino
Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science