Green-House: Solar Editions album review

Where Ardizoni’s previous releases demonstrated careful attention to detail, here their approach is rarely up to much more than a random knob. “Mycorrhizae Dreams” engages in gentle krautrock-y arpeggios that, though soothing, never find a real sense of place or direction. Instead of going into one perfectly executed tonal mood, Ardizoni stacks mindless whistles and kitschy sci-fi synths on top of each other and even throws in some of their usual running water sounds. The results may be easy on the ears, but that does not make them any less tame. Worse is “Flora Urbana Absumpto,” whose flat pianos literally feel like a snug waiting room soundtrack meant solely to be ignored. Even late on the track, when Ardizoni’s cloudy synths seem to finally come into focus, they simply resign themselves by floating around in a stunning middle zone until the song ends just as eye-catchingly as it began.

There has always been an undercurrent of elevator-music-ease to Green-House’s production, but as the songs become less exciting, one wonders what apparently does Solar Editions more profound than actual elevator music. Take “Produce Aisle”, whose tongue-in-cheek title suggests that the song sounds like something that would play in the company’s mall in Stardew Valley. The chintzy pianos and vaporwavey sway are comfortable, but they do not really go anywhere, and none of that pushes the concept far enough to be particularly mind-opening. It raises the question that haunts the current new-age scene: If the effect of art is the same as the one it claims to reinvent critically (pampering, bougie-band lifestyle music), why should we attach so much experimental significance to it?

If there’s a moment on Solar Editions which serves as a reminder of why Green-House has come to the forefront of the new age revival, it is in the wonderfully swirling sonata of “Morning Glory Waltz.” With its flashing baroque melody, the song gracefully lays one unfolding idea on top of the other and builds into a bouncing chorus of Isao Tomita-like synths dancing around like imaginative guests to an interstellar ball. It proves how creative and fun Ardizoni’s music can be when nurturing their sounds to their full potential. Unfortunately, most Solar Editions comes out as a return to a drier era of new age, only now with tasteful reference points. These songs, no matter how pleasantly unobtrusive they may be, end up feeling like wellness fodder, more sedentary than stimulating. For a project dedicated to the beauty of scattered vegetation, the worst thing is Solar Editions is that it just feels a little lifeless.

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