By Blake Parker
Without a moment’s hesitation, Deer Traps by Leonard Donat recalls Biosphere, Brian Eno, and elements of early Bibio and Bath’s side-project Geotic. From the opening track Donat establishes a sort of musical inactivity, or a guise of such. In reality elements fade in and out, vary, and trade thematic dominance throughout each track just as any other more traditional music would. The artistry that lies within Deer Traps is the versatility of its perceived character: it can function as a meditative or even sleep-inducing atmosphere, a background to increase focus and awareness, or a direct escape into realms and spaces of true auditory fantasy.
Mechanically, Deer Traps utilizes repetitiveness as a tool to influence the listener. Within a foggy context of field recordings and ambient samples lies the bed of instrumental meandering which, without intent listening, seems to wander endlessly further and further down a winding tunnel. With more scrutiny, the reality of the music comes into view that these instruments are singular building blocks with finite edges – beginnings and endings – that are so expertly woven together to seem unendingly unique and explorative.
In Donat’s album, unlike many others’ that may attempt the same effect, a precise balance of variety and redundancy is accomplished. While this musical technique can fail in ways of both lack of content to cause actual boredom, and an overuse of individual elements to surrender familiarity to the point of discomfort, Donat splits the middle effortlessly, and the resulting collection of songs deserves praise in numerous genres and applications, if not simply as a ubiquitous ambient work of art.
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