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Foley Age by Bloom’s Taxonomy

There’s no shortage of experimentalist success in the American underground and abroad at the moment, and you needn’t look much further than the vivid stylings of Bloom’s Taxonomy and his new LP Foley Age to understand exactly what I mean. Broaching the complicated task of making a rather abstract ambient piece melodically soothing around every turn is definitely not something many artists would be able to handle on their own, but nonetheless Bloom’s Taxonomy makes it sound rather seamless in tracks like “Elephant Park” and “Locked In.” He’s determined to tether our experience with the record to a dreamscape normally inaccessible when awake, and in my opinion he couldn’t have done a better job. 

Despite the experimental edge of the material, everything here finds a supremely melodic center at one point or another. From the delightful dissonance of “Earthrise” to the fleeting textural charisma of “Obrigada Nada,” we’re never thrown into an abyss of noise in Foley Age, but instead allowed to witness chaos from a distance required to really appreciate it. It must have taken a great deal of time to hammer out all of the subtle details in this piece, but it was nevertheless worth it on every level. 

The master mix here creates some pressure on the climax in “Mount Bromo,” “Imaginary Angles” and “Pluvius,” but I think this was necessary to get as big a reaction out of the audience as possible. There’s nothing wrong with inviting some fireworks into an otherwise stoic stretch of music if it accentuates a deeper narrative, and given the lack of lyrical content in Foley Age, this kind of intricacy was important to make all of the material as accessible to the listener as something a bit more mainstream would be (without sacrificing any integrity, mind you). 

It would be really interesting to see a visual counterpart to “Cosmic Village of the Jaguars” and its tracklist neighbor in the title cut at some point, mostly just to get some better insight into the artistic continuity that makes them so fun to consume in a single sitting. There’s an industrial element to these two tracks that’s never quite realized in its entirety, but instead teased with faint structural accents I’d love to hear more of in the next record we get from Bloom’s Taxonomy. Experimental to the very end, songs like these are what make me curious to hear what he’s going to develop in the future. 

I’m just starting to get into and appreciate the complexities of the new wave in ambient music right now, but among the artists to have thoroughly captured my attention, Bloom’s Taxonomy undeniably ranks among the very best. Foley Age is a full-color smorgasbord of tonal and textural brilliance, and if you’re in the mood to explore some of the finer points of the ambient genre as it stands in 2021, you’re definitely going to get a lot out of the magic this LP has in spades. Bloom’s Taxonomy is touching on some divine components here, and I’m excited to find out what he’s going to do with them next. 

Mindy McCall

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