With Astronomica, Matt Walker introduced listeners to his Monomyyth trilogy, sending them through the uncharted expanses of the cosmos. For many like this writer who were more accustomed to the rockier and more aggressive sounds of Walker’s drumming for industrial and alt. rock bands, it was a refreshing entry into the man’s more introspective and ambient side. The Infinity Line follows as the second in the series, bringing listeners back down to Earth while still inviting their minds to travel beyond the confines of the physical into dreamier realms.
As on the previous record, the 10 tracks on The Infinity Line traverse at a briskly measured pace that allows listeners to indulge in the spacious atmospheres he creates; even as multiple layers of electronic and acoustic instrumentation seemingly build to crescendo, the sound is never crowded or oppressive. For instance, on “Midnight Overture,” a lovely electronic rhythm with chiming keyboards amid reverberant swells create a nocturnal resonance that would not have been out of place on a Vangelis album from the late ‘70s-early ‘80s, the sparse howls of guitar and occasional wisps of a brassy synth adding a lightly melodic and almost vocal quality. Similarly, the spectral and oscillating pads and chimes like the rays of the sun peeking through the clouds on “Shadowlight,” the deep bass and interwoven hums of bowed strings evocative of Shankar’s double violin or a Middle Eastern Kemençe on “Somnium” suggesting a tone poem from a dream of ancient civilizations, and the modulations of celestial keyboard phrases bouncing amid fluttering ambient effects on the reflective “To the Touch” all produce a satisfyingly tranquil effect. Noteworthy is “Particle Behavior” as Brendan Byrnes’ singing guitar lines atop Walker’s percolating synth layers are reminiscent of the instrumental passages on Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell, while the consonant stabs and sequences of steely brass synths on “Anaira” and “The Infinity Line” are at once engaging and riddled with anxiety, Robb Janov’s electric and acoustic violins on the latter track providing a vibrant and harmonious accompaniment. The Infinity Line concludes with “Rutger’s Passage,” drenched in cavernous reverb and acoustic feedback coloring the pensive interplay of melancholy pianos, distorted guitar, and almost wheezing electronic howls that by the end coalesce into a radiant exchange of sustained drones that bring us to a beautiful end.
As stated, Walker keeps things moving at a deliberate pace that ensures none of the songs outstay their welcome, which some may consider uncharacteristic for the ambient music genre; although it is a welcome facet of his approach, it does result in several tracks on The Infinity Line fading out at such a point that one can surmise that these are truncated versions of much longer compositions. But that is also admirable as it shows Walker’s capacity for effective and concise sonic storytelling, ensuring that Monomyyth continues to entrance and ensnare us further down the rabbit hole… where will the final leg of the trilogy lead?