The Notional Pastures Of Imaginary Softwoods

Time bends for Imaginary Softwoods, the solo guise of producer, songwriter, and synthesist John Elliott. Though he’s working on new recordings daily, Elliott’s process for the construction of his albums moves at a much different interval, stretching out over months of considerate listening, revision, and waiting patiently for the right combinations and clashes of elemental forces to materialise on their own. The Notional Pastures of Imaginary Softwoods continues Elliott’s practice of zeroing in on what he wants to say with an album over the course of countless sessions that span multiple years, this time paying even more attention to locating the emotional through-line that connects the various pieces.

The eleven-piece album vibrates at a low, unbroken cycle through all of its articulations. The bubbling neon dots of “North of Roswell,” double vision stumble of “Mr. Big Volume,” underwater music box trickle of “Portable Void,” and clear headed Arctic daybreak drones of “Diagram of the Universe” are all linked by a gentle, fluid hum. The brief moments of anxiety and long stretches of calm both feed back into the same center of gravity, becoming conjoined reflections of one another as they cycle through.

After bending to find this specific universal frequency, time evaporates altogether, and longer zones like the glimmering “Almond Branch” become indistinguishable from Elliott’s signature miniatures, some of which stick around for less than a minute. The Notional Pastures of Imaginary Softwoods is a document of the universe as we comprehend it, designed to vanish as soon as it is felt.


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