Midnight Watchman: “Liquid Universe” – layer upon layer of varying textures

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A guitarist and keyboard player who began as a street musician in UK before touring the US and then returning home, Andy Jones AKA Midnight Watchman, is a composer and producer of ambient music. Influenced by an extremely wide spectrum of music and musicians, that go from Vangelis to Chopin, ad Ryan Adams to Tycho, Midnight Watchman has released his 12 track instrumental album, entitled “Liquid Universe”. In the hands of a lesser artist, the varying song structures of this album would likely become tiresome, but every one of the album’s twelve tracks is a testament to the Midnight Watchman’s breathtaking compositional skills. The producer builds much of the record around a theme of melodies and rhythms which start off simply, to which he adds layer upon layer of complexity as they progress.

The album as a whole is itself a blend of structures and forms of arrangement that shift from track to track. But, like all great songwriters, Midnight Watchman knows how to surprise the listener. The album really eases you in with songs like “Double Up” and “Suburban Bliss”, which both sound like a prototypical tunes; supremely chilled but with enough layers to make them feel like much more than just background music.

There’s a shift in “Chaos From The Cold”, the song begins with chugging, sweet basslines that drift over a rolling synths as the space around them fills with harmonic textures. But as soon as this pattern is on the verge of becoming predictable, Midnight Watchman switches gears to a lyrical, twinkling keyboard melody.

Listening to tracks like “The Lichfield Hour” and Bering East is the aural equivalent of exploring an art museum. The overall effect is one of remarkable beauty where you have the option of how you take it all in. Just take a take a careful listen to sounds that strike you, then listen closer and closer until new colors, patterns, and themes emerge.

In this sweet spot, Midnight Watchman treads a fine line between soothing background music and multifaceted sonic landscapes that warrant close listening. And this is where energetic arrangements like “Face of the Future” and “One Day It Will All Seem Funny” keenly step onto the playlist.

“Liquid Universe” appears to be deliberately confident in its mixing of slow-burning tempos and warm organic-sounding instrumentation. The resulting effect compounds well with the magnificently epic sounds and rhythms of “French Canadian” and “Super Moon”.

On “Starling Stars”, Midnight Watchman opens with a lovely throbbing bass line that creates a rich tonal texture. When the drums liven the atmosphere, he tweaks the resonant keys and strings to become playful and the rhythm hard-driving.

The tracks on here each have a life of their own, leaving the album feeling substantially fulfilling, rather than just sounding like one long instrumental repetitive recording divided into varying segments. The fluidity of the songwriting also ensures that “Liquid Universe” transitions from song to song very smoothly. This is an extremely focused record and a positive step forward for Midnight Watchman.

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