Local Review: Lucid Sound Driver – Serenity in the Vast Darkness
Local Music Reviews
Lucid Sound Driver
Serenity in the Vast Darkness
Lucid Sound Driver = Chihei Hatakeyama + 2814
As Lucid Sound Driver, Jack Murphey has been tirelessly crafting and releasing diverse ambient works that often integrate elements of vaporwave and intelligent dance music (IDM). On his newest album, Serenity in the Vast Darkness, Murphey focuses less on these aesthetics and instead commits to creating clean, amoebal ambient soundscapes for listeners to float inside of.
The first half of Serenity in the Vast Darkness consists of a single track, “When the Dead Weep,” divided into three parts. Slowly and subtly, the piece builds an ethereal and glimmering electronic atmosphere in a manner that is entirely enveloping. Only when passing cars and sirens are faded into the mix, adding a welcome sense of dynamics to the music, are you reminded of your position as a listener—momentarily safe and sound from everything collapsing externally.
The second half of Serenity in the Vast Darkness is split into three tracks that are not necessarily interwoven. These tracks remain grounded in the soft environment cultivated by the first; however, there is an added, understated movement in the final three tracks that elevate them beyond the album’s opening act. “Phantoms,” featuring English ambient artist Sangam, reuses the effects of light rain and introduces comforting, washed-out keys. “The Light Before You” offers moments of crackling static and interjecting metallic strikes that may initially seem like an interruption of tranquility. However, like the sirens before them, they dissolve into the music’s pacifying effects. After a fade into silence, “Letting Go” closes the album by gently carrying the listener off into nothingness.
While this album does not have the expansiveness that allows for an almost lived-in feel by its end, this is a remarkably successful ambient work that is able to do a lot with not very much—it is a soothing album that always remains interesting, and even effectively makes some social commentary by allowing just a little bit of the outside world into its pristine bubble. Even in it’s brevity, Serenity in the Vast Darkness does exactly as its name implies, gorgeously allowing listeners to find a space for reprieve away from it all. –Evan Welsh