Expert technologist Vincent I. Watson releases an exhibit of meditative textures tuned to maximize sensations of tingling invigoration and carefree, amorphous weightlessness. If that sounds arty for what’s essentially a high-spec chillout record, it’s because Serene can be defined as more than just a musical expo. Even if at times it sounds like a CD only available on infomercials.
With a gradual enveloping of surround sound going with a touch of the operatic (taken from the Scotsman’s classical training), “Celtic Beauty” borrows trance’s ability of empowerment as layered loops find their own way. Yet a tiny speckle of pessimism is in Watson’s psyche – maybe thinking that you have to have some negativity in order to sieve it from your system. “Sagitaria” suggests caution be taken and “Re-Contact” turns your inner happy place into something in need of de-fogging, giving way to digital vibrations that move the scenario to futuristic reaches, and sit on the album’s all-seeing, all-knowing hum and shimmer. “Out of Reach” sounds like a crystal castle fronted by armed guards, and with the slow-motion dive of “Abyss”, walls of sound are key to Watson’s entrancement, without, despite the latter’s iller omens, ever losing its feeling of looking down on the world.
Beatless so as to capitalize on the cloud-scaling experience, final track “Open Your Eyes” adds defined rhythm to allow warmer patterns to infiltrate your brainwaves. Like being invited into an igloo, yet finding a roaring fire in its midst.
File under: Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, Hans Zimmer