(New Album Review) Andrew Henry- Searching For Answers
Andrew Henry is an electronic musician from Pittsburgh who mostly focuses on making ambient drones. Out of the 11 albums that he has released to his bandcamp page this year, I’d like to spotlight Searching For Answers, released mid-March.
I have a strong love of ambient music, especially when I can pick up on the presence of electroacoustic influence. I have listened to many good albums of this sort so far this year, including some new offerings from Chihei Hatakeyama and Federico Durand, but the two that have stood out the most to me as deserving of more attention have been Mike Weis’s Don’t Know, Just Walk and this album of Henry’s.
As the name would betray, Searching For Answers is sweeping, cosmic ambient. As with Will Long, one of Henry’s influences, the style of composition is simple and hypnotic– the slow, enveloping waves of velvety sound that characterize warm drone. The loops go on for ages and it is very comforting to get lost in them. However, the album’s mood is often quite foreboding and eerie– this is probably one of the darker warm drone albums to which I have ever listened. With that in mind, I have to admit that I don’t always like it when ambient musicians try to make music that sounds “hopeful”, with sad piano chords and somber touches of neo-classical– and this sort of composition, a planetarium of vague ebbs and slow-motion swells, is the type that I find myself coming back to again and again. The shadowy sense of mystery of Searching For Answers is enticing and fresh.
I would not be surprised if we have significantly more warm drone fans here in Portland than elsewhere in the United States– after all, Marcus Fischer and Matthew Cooper are both Portland natives. There was actually another musician in Portland, who went by the moniker of Aless, who made music that was strongly influenced by warm drone, and I have always hoped to see one of her shows. Unfortunately, it seems that she is taking an extended vacation, or has simply disappeared, because I haven’t seen her name on the circuit.
Searching For Answers is another extremely satisfying album that I want to add to my end-of-the-year favorites list. Listen for yourself and tell me this isn’t one of the best efforts of the year in this idiom– it’s just really nice.
I would also like to recommend Anonymous Camaraderie. This one has sort of an interesting concept behind it which Henry goes into some detail describing on his bandcamp.
Let it all wash over you. Good luck to Andrew, too, on his future endeavours!