Subtle flavours are what I experienced on Slowrun’s albums “Prologue” and “Resonance”. Now, two years on, the Finnish instrumental band has released this EP in which to weave their ambient magic.

The first of the two tracks takes us immediately into a dreamworld, almost akin to Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross” with the shimmering cymbal, but here although it’s as patient it’s darker. The guitar strikes out a steady tune, accompanied by the bass and a bell like sound. It’s a magical world. In line with a post rock style, the power level ramps up but it’s all in keeping with the moody and misty atmosphere. With perfect timing, the drum comes in like a heartbeat to reinforce the atmosphere in our minds and souls, but all the time there is another layer ready to sweep in. Now it’s a strong and powerful, indeed epic layer, but all the time there is a balance with another side, creating balance between control and delicacy. I did wonder whether a haunting vocal might be appropriate here but concluded that expression was achieved more clearly through the instrumentals alone. That’s the band’s choice of course but what is being expressed? I’m not sure what image this track presented as there is such a mix of elements and emotions, but for me it’s more of this world than outside of it, reflecting perhaps a transformation from a crisp and dark winter to a brighter spring. Maybe that’s why this track’s title, which I didn’t check until I’d experienced it, is called “Adrift”. What is evident is the clarity of musicianship, and the appeal to the senses that it brings.

Slowrun continue to play with our senses as they patiently embark upon “Wake”. A calming air is created through a reflective and steady bass and drum rhythm. Meanwhile the guitar’s ring provides an uplifting tone. Again the band shows its expertise in the development of layers. But unlike “Wake” there is more constancy here, and the beauty lies in the absorption of the prevailing ambience and the creation of a trance-like state rather than the more transformational “Adrift”.

Even in the short 14 minute time span, “Passage” is a representation of two similarly ambient, yet different worlds. I liked the fact that time wasn’t a constraint to the final production. There was no rush to pack everything in. I shall state the obvious by saying that this was too short, but what there is has a haunting presence and is another demonstration from Slowrun of how clear-minded and technically accomplished musicianship can activate the senses. I recommend Slowrun’s two previous albums, but as an introduction to the band and a wonderful means of temporary escapism, I also recommend this EP.

(9/10 Andrew Doherty)