Branches of Sun – Aukai

The Independent called this album ‘stunning’, and who I am to disagree with that august journal?

You can hear the influences – Mike Oldfield on the title track, Ryuichi Sakamoto on ‘Closed Eyes’, Steve Reich on ‘Iztac’ – but each track does more than simply ape another artist.  ‘Iztac’ moves from ‘Different Trains’ era Reich to finger picked guitar and muffled drone.  ‘Barely Above’ cuts its minimalist single piano notes with electronic sounds and (I think) violin, then what could be the sound of soft footsteps on snow.

Apparently the artist walked across a frozen lake every day from his cabin in in the Colorado mountains to the recording studio, and that seems quite apt.  It’s an album which is autumnal as it starts and becomes more wintry as it progresses – the perfect soundtrack for these ever colder days.

If you only listen to one track, listen to this:

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