It was about a year ago, around this time, that I heard “A:M Instrumentals Vol. 1” by the UK based producer A:M. The tracks presented an amalgam of rich pianos, dreamy landscapes, vocal samples and syrupy basslines for anyone who appreciates chillwave, ambient and triphop, with a jazzy and soulful twist. Now the quixotic creative is back with a new collection of luxurious dreamscapes, logically entitled “A:M Instrumentals Vol 2”. A:M has, yet again, provided us with an elegant collection of ambiance and rhythms. This recording embodies a true progression of his project. I’m always a bit worried before listening to a new release; many times it’s proven to be the death of a career by falling short of fans’ expectations.
Fortunately for A:M, “A:M Instrumentals Vol 2” is everything we’ve come to know and love about this producer and more: soothing textures and melodies, soul-stirring soundscapes, and this time, he brought in a few surprises.
The EP starts with “Hi”. From the haunting guitars and hip-hop drums to the warm harmonies, this is what I consider to be a classic A:M tune. It’s the perfect way to intro the EP for both lovers of, and newcomers to his work. “Hi” is smooth, chilled out, and has just the right amount of groove.
Following this intro is “Passion”, where A:M calls on some hypnotic vocal samples over another tune with quintessential A:M-esque themes. The voice is reflective and gorgeous mixing serenely with the rolling piano lines. All of these elements blend into a transcendent hybrid of lush, nuanced, and ethereal composition.
“On and On” is yet another meticulously curated track, and as such, bestows a transcendental listening experience that sifts through varying astral planes from start to finish. It’s the kind of music that’s hard to put into words because it makes you feel in abstractions, producing rhythmic vibes that command your entire presence and attention.
“Mellow Yellow” has a sheen of acid jazz enveloping its midnight groove. The track emerges through amalgamations of hip-hop, world music, jazz, and an insatiable appetite for curiosity.
The foreground of “Time” contrasts a dominating mellowness behind a hidden storm of ascending groove. This sets the scene for a series of gorgeous sounds and voices to follow. The smooth vocals and gentle bounce of the track, which also features a bumping bassline provides a deft blend of trip-hop goodness.
There’s not a purposeless note on the entire track, which is accompanied by lush keys, and an ever-present backbeat. The smoothness of A:M’s production is extremely impressive, and he may be the best unsung chill/ambient producers around right now, beating the genre heavyweights at their own game, with not one, but five fell swoops on this recording.
While “A:M Instrumentals Vol 2” will probably fly under a whole bunch of radars, it should be smack bang in the middle of yours. Grab a good pair of headphones and check out the recording in its entirety.