Library Tapes – Höstluft

Library Tapes

Tagging an album with the genre “ambient” can sometimes be a death knell. Even though there are a number of artists that have achieved excellent results through careful construction of sound worlds and minimal instrumentation, there are far more that make music dull enough to induce sleep. Thankfully Library Tapes’ David Wenngren is able to deftly navigate these waters, producing beautiful and often understated melancholia. His pieces drown lonely piano figures in static and found sounds. Those that enjoy the collaborative works of Brian Eno and Harold Budd or Christian Fennesz and Ryuichi Sakamoto will find much to love here.

Höstluft begins with some crackling sounds that might have been lifted from the worn out grooves of a vinyl record. Shortly following this, Wenngren introduces the first plaintive piano notes onto this canvas of static. This seems to be the modus operandi of the album. Each piece begins with some field recordings with the piano entering shortly afterwards. It might get old if not for Wenngren’s concise melodic gifts that are so lovely you wish they would go on forever. These are capable of conveying feelings of loneliness, isolation, and surprisingly even warmth. The only weak point about the album is that some of the pieces may have benefited from being extended a few minutes more.

This is the third Library Tapes album and the first with Wenngren as the sole member. Instead of narrowing the focus of Höstluft, Wenngren was able to craft a more capable album with fewer weak spots than previous Library Tapes records. With any music like this there is always a tendency to lapse into irrelevance as soon as its audience perceives a reduction in quality. If David Wenngren can continue to make ambient music this engaging he shouldn’t have a problem.