Apr 2023 07

Album CoverPeter Elm
Album: Fragments of Longing
Category: Ambient
Label: Alfa Matrix
Release Date: 2022-10-28
Author: Stitch Mayo (StitchM)


Part of a three-CD set with Penetrator, released under the ELM moniker, Peter Elm’s Fragments of Longing lives up to its name by delivering a deeply introspective and melancholic experience. It evokes a sense of longing and isolation right from the beginning, creating a surreal and hushed atmosphere, as if the listener is snowed in with nowhere to go. “Ganbaru Theme,” one of the only two vocal tracks on the album, explores themes of regret and perseverance, with mantra-like lyrics about striving for forgiveness. Elm appears to have found inspiration from the music of Jean-Michel Jarre, evident in various tracks throughout the album, such as “Hand-Fish-Star,” which features a bass-driven melody paired with a prominent synthetic hi-hat. “Black Sheep” presents itself as the most optimistic piece with a strong motif layered with varying atmospheres. It’s almost jarring to note that the man behind the edgy and restless music of ELM also brings to life the soft, delicate voice heard on “Strangest Flower,” which showcases a surprising vulnerability in the lyrics. “Somewhen” is an interesting piece that merits discussion due to its trills, synth bells, slightly offbeat bass, and delay on the percussion that creates the illusion of the hi-hat disappearing into the horizon. It feels like a direct sequel to the “Swamps of Sadness” theme from The NeverEnding Story (yes, the scene responsible for much of Generation X’s trauma), and has a Giorgio Moroder-like quality to it, intentional or not. Some listeners may find the album a little too formulaic in places, with a very similar sound set and tempo used throughout most of the tracks. Nonetheless, the simultaneous depth and simplicity of the album’s haunting and mesmerizing qualities cannot be denied. Fragments of Longing showcases Peter Elm’s impressive compositional skills and is hopefully just the first of many such explorations.
Track list:

  1. Ganbaru Theme
  2. Somewhen
  3. Black Sheep
  4. Cabourg
  5. Enoshima
  6. Hand-Fish-Star
  7. Lucia
  8. Strangest Flower
  9. With the Last Strength
  10. Ganbaru Theme (Voiceless)

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