By Blake Parker
Amparo’s recent release, Palm House, opens with one of the few moments in music where I have been attracted (and extremely so) to an out-of-tune guitar line. The first moments of “Hounds” give a nostalgic tickle to the soul, and instantly brought a smile to my face. The sounds of Palm House recall the wonderful electric guitar and string layers for which Explosions in the Sky or Yvette Young are known, with a hint of the album Morning Shore (Eon Ilse) by Bath’s side project Geotic, a release composed entirely of guitar sounds taking the role of a variety of other instruments in ambient music. With a dapple of whimsy, summer glow, and misty mountain haze, the tonal elements of Amparo’s guitar and the compositional growth across a track make this album a delight to listen to while studying, driving, or lounging with loved ones.
While self-described as an ambient musician, Amparo’s creations on Palm House give a distinct impression of post-rock genre influence. Many of the tracks on the album develop in an unhurried linear way as with many ambient song structures, but the textures and sounds present in the core foundation of the music beg for a deeper consideration that the pigeonhole in which ambient music can often find itself.
Many of the songs offer clear visions of rocky landscapes and mountainous horizons, wet with morning dew – an impression well fit for the musician who is based in southern Arizona, USA. The songs, at the same time that they create these images, bleed together the way a landscape does when viewed out a car window. Much of the music can suck the listener in until they lose sense of time, and are left with the feeling that it has passed both slowly as ever, and quite fast all at once. As jarring as that may sound, it is a beautiful ride to take – one that should not be missed by enthusiasts of ambient soundscapes and mellow post-rock alike.