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July Ambient Roundup: Inhale, Exhale

Lambert McGaughy

Lambert McGaughy: Sapphire

If you’re having a rough time this summer (who isn’t?), treat yourself to a little experimental sax. While most associate the saxophone with jazz, McGaughy seeks to showcase the versatility of the instrument.
“I did the EDM saxophonist thing years ago with large labels like Monstercat, though I broke away and wanted to do my own thing. Sax is almost always associated with jazz, whereas I am not a jazz musician. Ambient is in my heart, and that’s what I exude through my music.”

“Sapphire” is McGaughy’s latest single, with a music video set to release on July 27.

“This idea is actually many years old and evolved while I was sitting on a beach on Maui. A friend of mine sent me an idea at the time, and the melody came together in my head, though I was not able to actually create it until I was back home. A few months ago, I played the song for the very talented artist Bluereso who was persistent that the song be finished and helped me make it what it is now. So, here we are. Sapphire is the second release of four songs all having to do with color. It’s important us all to keep our shine.”

Foam and Sand: Circle 10

If you like a little mystery with your music, Foam and Sand has you covered. The artist’s identity is a secret, but his tape loops and electronic experiments have developed quite a following on Instagram during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Circle 10” is his first solo single under this name.

“Confined to his home studio, the artist who releases music under different monikers, started creating self soothing ambient music, for his own peace of mind and as a form of musical therapy first,” said a representative for his label, Quiet Love. “These new pieces were only shared on Instagram,

along with visuals the artist created himself as well: a confluence of colors, shapes and sound. Much like planets circling each other, or cells exchanging molecules, they express the interconnectedness of all things.”

“Circle 10” was created with a tape loop as its basis, along with glistening pitched percussion, both malleted and bowed. The track was “glued together” with analog synth “clouds” and slowed down after everything was recorded onto tape.

The rich, hazy track and some other ambient expressions on tape by the artist can be found on Spotify.

Catty.L: Something I try to tell you…

If you’re still craving peaceful music shrouded in mystique, this summer has been blessed twice.

Chinese artist Catty.L has created a sweet and sparkling EP of instrumental compositions with a cryptic message spelled out in their titles.

In addition to glimmering keyboards and strings, the EP is full of little secrets and surprises. The second track, titled “never…” and featuring Nicolas Hartzell is composed in Dorian mode, lending the piece an otherworldly quality.

Textures abound, ending in the suspenseful hailstorm that is “forever.” A cliffhanger ending to a complex little riddle.

Healing Language: Sun Gift

Similar in sound but drastically different in aesthetic to “Something I try to tell you…”, Healing Language, whose online presence is largely made up of jarring yet informative herbalist videos in psychedelic color schemes, presents “Sun Gift.”

Vibrant layers of synths and smooth waves of blissful frequencies are the timely remedy to the desolation and loneliness so many are experiencing at this time.

More gentle and euphoric sounds can be heard in our playlist “Inhale, Exhale” on Spotify. Check it out here!

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Sarita Farnelli

Sarita Farnelli

Sarita Farnelli is a journalist and editor based in Richmond, Virginia.