Steven R. Smith

From Ashes Come

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The guitar soundscapes on From Ashes Come are interesting in their own right, typically resembling the work of Bardo Pond, but the album's real asset is its determination to move this sound through many different veins. Rather than treading over the same ground for the entirety of the record, Smith does what soundscapes are ostensibly meant to, offering a small world with each track. Many of these small worlds have the experimentally eerie tone indie listeners are familiar with, but others take on rustic aspects ("Loomings"), explore sounds traditional to eastern Asia ("Footfalls Stitched Among Others"), or move through elegant, piano-based tones ("Latitudes"). This approach seems a bit more generous than the monochromatic airs of many similar artists, and something about Smith's sense of focus and organization gets beyond the fallacy that music must be chaotic to be "experimental" -- all of which makes for a very worthwhile album.