AMN Reviews: Michael Valentine West – a farewell to arms (2022; Reverse Alignment)

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The pieces that I had heard from Michael Valentine West prior to the release of this album were intriguing, yet I never found more than a few moments to contemplate his work. On a farewell to arms, West covers a lot of ground in experimental ambient space, the album taking the form of a single 49-minute track.

To that point, it goes through a number of distinct phases or movements, beginning with a slow-paced and moody piano interlude combined with spiky and burbling static. The tension slowly builds as the piano notes become more tightly spaced, the static louder, and drones enter the background.

Eventually, this passage fades into the second movement, which takes on a more menacing tone with synth layers stretching out chords in a fashion consistent with dark ambient. The tension and density build once again until West breaks out into a third movement of improvised…

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