>>On his first release in seven years, Jim DeWitt, the face behind the musical project Precious Kindred, has released a collection of unreleased downtempo gems that were recorded five years ago and are finally seeing the light of day.
In the sleeve notes of one of his own records, the purveyor and mastermind of ambient music Brian Eno once called the genre “as ignorable, as it is interesting.” Since the beginning, some people have labeled ambient music as just “background music” or “wallpaper,” creating a strong disconnect between themselves and the music. And from my days of just playing this style of music around people, I’ve been told by some that it’s just noise. But clearly those people have never listened to Eno’s 'Ambient 1: Music For Airports' with a good pair of headphones. Ambient music or any styles of electronic music may after all just be “noise,” but the genre is certainly overlooked.
At its best, like on Precious Kindred’s 'Field Research', it can shift and enhance your perceptions and be the opposite of ignorable. Jim DeWitt’s latest release from his solo project is a glorious remedy and detour of ambient music that can amplify any type of feeling inside you with its sensitive and irresistible hypnotic downtempo melodies.
Undoubtedly, it’s been a longtime coming for a Precious Kindred release. Previously, DeWitt has never released a full-length album before behind the solo project. Over the years, he’s just released a self-titled EP, a live recording from The Bug Jar, and some recordings of experiments with groove boxes. DeWitt’s instrumentals are a few years old on this one, but on a couple tracks, he brought in the glamorous and fantastic Erica Allen-Lubman of Boy Jr. to record vocals over his gentle and expressive downtempo grooves. And on every track, DeWitt’s ensuring sonic textures cradle your mood and makes your environment much clearer.
From the opening of wind chimes to the synthy looping drums towards the end, the opening track “Many Birds Appear,” is a mysteriously massive and inventive soundscape. DeWitt creates an ambient journey that places the listener in a reflective headspace throughout the remainder of the album. DeWitt’s bright and woozy composition matches well with Lubman’s floating and foggy vocals on the highlight “Fresh Honey.” Both the cruising “Interlude One” and hazy closing track “Zones” are consistent with their adventurous and shimmering rhythms, whereas “Interlude Two” feature bubbling piano and synth melodies with swirls of what sounds like some water sounds. The mood-enhancing “Circuit Bounce” includes buzzing synths and a thumping bassline that’s reminiscent to something you would hear off of Air’s ' Moon Safari.' “Shadows Hold Our Love” is one of the more tender tracks on the album with Lubman’s soothing, melancholic vocals that overlay DeWitt’s gentle and careful layers of dreamy synths. Simultaneously, it’s beautifully evocative like most of the arrangements here.
There’s a feeling of security and safety within the exploration of Precious Kindred’s latest release—something that was lacking from the first EP. On each listen, you’ll gain some usefulness that’s astounding and rare in music today. It’s not just pretentious noise like some may think; it’s a journey of curiosity and how deep you can really go to find peace within yourself.