Hilyard has been a name in more melancholic/dark ambient for me for a few years now, since I first heard ‘Between Silence and Solitude’ way back in 2013. I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by them as an artist, as there has been no particular ‘style’ or ‘sound’ that defines them. This is both a good and bad thing – good in the sense that each album is a refreshing, new experience. It’s bad as I really don’t know what to expect. This isn’t bad from the artists point of view, just my own personal preference – I thrive on familiarity or constant things. It sounds strange, but the routine excites me.
Hilyard’s offering as the first release on Cryo Chamber, that excellent dark cinematic ambient label is a deep space offering. Such titles evoke the emptiness of space as ‘Airflows and Airlocks’, ‘Empty Sectors’ and ‘Inverted Horizon’. All tracks follow a space theme, slow drifts of sound and melody with an excellent sense of how full each piece needs to be. The opening of ‘Swimming with Giants’ is a great example of this, with a range of distinct sounds for each level – pad synth basses, soft strings for the highs and processed vocalesque sounds for the mid. Each is mixed and place with perfection.
Overall the album is a great background player, but I also find it suitable for focused listening too. Like I’ve mentioned, the fullness of each piece means there’s always something happening, but never at a level that is jarring, sudden or out of place. Even distorted breaths, other random sounds don’t feel intrusive but add to the movement of each track.
A couple of these tracks are worthy of my ‘Solitary Moments’ playlist, and I’ll be adding that to this site shortly.
Favourite Track: Airflows and Airlocks.