According to the artist behind firsteight, “wombat_army is the solo project of London based composer/producer Martin Webb, who has been using samplers, synths, looping pedals, a ukulele and a cello to create music for about 15 years.” I had the chance to listen to one of the tracks and I really dug the vibe of it (leading me to listen to the whole album). As you know, when I hear something I like, I have to share it with you via review.
The record has had an interesting critical response already as, according to Webb, “tracks have been played on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction show, Resonance FM’s ‘Sleeping Dog’s Lie’ and also on BBC London.” My take on it is also, like the media that has played it, quite positive. firsteight is an atmospheric, ambient journey through a total of 9 songs that cause you to engage psychologically. The logical idea behind the songs is to give you a different sphere to exist in, but also keeping you totally engaged. What I mean is, you react like an individual should to the ambient/downtempo genre (i.e. meditative), but the melodies, harmonies, and rhythms also keep you present. There are remnants of Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno and even Philip Glass, but wombat_army has a style of his own.
Within the looping minimalism and the atmospheric tones, the tracks on firsteight allow you to experience each with a calm and pondering frame of mind. With each sequence there are subtle additions to the overall theme of the songs, which is what ambient music should do at its finest. Each melody builds off the previous in a very symbiotic relationship, interlocking to create a complex soundscape. firsteight is ultimately a journey into various parallel musical universes all connected in some way. If you want to think or simply be brought to a different frame of mind with your musical experience, I highly recommend this record. As an ambient composer and musician myself, wombat_army has created something that I truly believe is worth hearing.
Standout tracks: “sunbox,” “cloudgazing,” “birdsflutter”
wombat_army can be found at:
https://wombatarmy.bandcamp.com (firsteight is available for download here)