Nestled under textured loops, there’s a sense of doom tethered to the dripping drones underlying Jakub Alexander’s ambient project, Heathered Pearls. The Polish-born Brooklyn transplant stitches a flecked tapestry of sounds with Loyal, steeped with intricacies and a restless fury underneath the surface.
An aesthetic and sonic unity dominates Loyal, from the cover art depicting Alexander’s own mother and aunt to the waves of ambience in all its forms, oscillating from distant white noise to pleasantly present in a seamless matter of seconds. Like building trust in someone, Loyal comes on slow. The more listens, the more the you become bound not only to the foundations of what loyalty is, but also the strained seams that challenge the binds themselves.
Two opposing forces dominate Loyal: ambience and noise. Yet the two fold gently into each other as opposed to becoming dueling forces, balancing handsomely to create what has to be a dream. The dripping keys of “The Worship Bell” fade in like a barely visible mist that envelops you whole, while the gossamer drones of “Steady Veil” and the trance-inducing lulls of “Ringing Temple” warp the senses much like fellow noise contemporary Infinite Body’s roaring drones do.
But it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for, as the subtle elements of the softer tracks on Loyal are the most unsettling. Muffled keys in “Docile Touch” resonate with such visceral effect that it’s nearly uncomfortable, like standing in a room devoid of furniture. The volume of the instruments in “Precious Dive” increases but in the most minuscule of increments. By the time you realize where you are, you’re already submerged six feet under a cacophony of dissonance and distortion.
Loyalty’s spins are immersive and pining, and demand much of a listener who’s more invested in the search rather than the convenience. A sort of sonic diver himself, Heathered Pearls mines his craft at the darkest, lowest points possible — resulting in pearls whose luster borders on frighteningly beautiful as opposed to the delicacy they may initially imply.
Essential Tracks: “Precious Dive”, “Ringing Temple”, and “Lower Dome”