A common narrative evoked when pondering mountains is the idea of seeking enlightenment through solitude. The hermit who seeks the wisdom of nature to find the deeper answers to life’s questions. Generally, remoteness is what makes this theme compelling. So to think that this inward exploration can be achieved up high where tourists travel a couple of hours from big northeastern cities sounds like a stretch.
Whether it’s the mountain air or something greater that has led Noa Spott to the feel-good chill of his first album isn’t what we’ll be exploring today. Under the ivoryHAUS moniker, Spott is releasing his first full length self-titled album on September 14. Spott, a multi-instrumentalist and producer raised in the Pocono Mountains (and now calling Philadelphia home) in a hard rock listening household found his own passion toward music via Nirvana and their grunged-up companions. Coming to electronic music and composition via MIDI guitar, Spott released his first music under his own name before finding his sound as ivoryHAUS.
Evoking thoughts of Tycho and Bonobo with nods to Vangelis and Moroder, the music on this album is decidedly downtempo with slightly harder-than-genre-dictating beats. There are many nuances that, track to track, stretch it out of its genre. The beats lean hip-hop more than freq’ed down generic but can get quite large like on penultimate track, Alleviate. There are lovely elements in them – thoughtful effecting that ask for a second listen.
The album feels very much like two parts. The first five tracks share many musical elements that are called back throughout ivoryHAUS. Piano, arpeggios and oscillations constitute a great deal of the music. The pianos are often bit-crushed and quantized but still feel warm. The first tracks are much more ambient and atmospheric, relying on piano hooks for movement with little in the way of deep pads. The second part is less ambient, grittier and harder. Sadr Region marks the album’s departure and feels more like the soundtrack under the hacking montage in an action film. The pads and swells are more dominant on these last three tracks as is an increase in FM noise to the musical themes established earlier on.
The album as a whole is an entirely enjoyable listen that doesn’t suffer from being too much of one thing. As a first effort, it’s impressive without trying too hard. It’s not overstuffed with ideas and there a certain comfort in the similarities between tracks. It feels more cohesive than repetitious. It has times where it could hang back far in the background and be a headphone-worn comedown. It’ll be a solid play for me for a variety of moods.
To encourage you to click a link and buy ivoryHAUS, Noa Spott is donating a quarter of all profits from sales to Save The Elephants. Have a listen and let us know what your favourite tracks are.