A L A S K A
Hello everyone, and happy new year! I am happy to be ringing in 2018 with a brand new artist spotlight. This time around, it's an instrumental, totally-chill project entitled A L A S K A.
A L A S K A is a solo project by Cameron Tierney, an incredibly talented musician and a personal friend of mine. The name of the project, according to Tierney, was suggested by a friend as a reference to the images of natural beauty that came to mind while listening to the music - and there aren't many places that are more beautiful than the last frontier of the United States.
Tierney started experimenting with the beginnings of A L A S K A's sound in early 2017, playing with loops and samples and discovering what he liked. "I've always wanted to start making my own music and I was really inspired by Adam Young [of Owl City]'s instrumental projects, and Port Blue in particular," he told me. And with a single perusal of his Soundcloud library, one who is familiar with Young's dreamy ambient project will hear the similarities - as well as the things that set them apart.
I'd be tempted to describe the sound of A L A S K A the same way one might describe a daydream that occurs while lying in a hammock on a warm summer's day. Like many daydreams, the project is laidback, with ambient tones and major keys. But A L A S K A also keeps listeners on their toes, offering much more than just one distinct sound. While one song is heavy with chords on keyboards, another is laden with acoustic riffs on guitar, while still others rely on bassy, ambient loops. Maybe I'm biased (the project's creator is a friend of mine, and I am a huge fan of the instrumental chill genre) but I'm convinced that A L A S K A has real potential to climb the ranks of Soundcloud, expand to other platforms, and become something very special.
Most recently released is a winter-themed double-track entitled "Snowfall/Mistletoe," a lightly flowing journey that turns to a more upbeat jingle to carry you through the winter blues. Nature sounds like crashing ocean waves, falling rain and chirping birds are commonly sprinkled among the notes that, together, certainly inspire thoughts of the beauty of nature on tracks like "Fallen Leaves" and "Jellyfish." One of my favorite tracks is "Suspended In A Sunbeam," which features uniquely reversed-sounding synth sounds over Carl Sagan's famous "Pale Blue Dot" speech - a monologue centered around our tiny place in this vast universe. The classic acoustic strumming, along with the sounds of fireflies and crackling flames makes the track "Campfire" another highly recommended favorite. With nearly two dozen singles and a 3-song "Autumn" EP, there's more than enough to A L A S K A to keep every ambient chill fan satisfied. Cameron has also promised that a full-length album is in the works for 2018, and I personally couldn't be more excited about it.
The Final Word
Instrumental ambient music is, in my opinion, a highly underrated and unappreciated genre. But if I were to introduce someone to this musical style, I would first point them in the direction of A L A S K A. Like similar well-renowned projects like Port Blue, Cameron's music is a fantastic representation of the simplistic beauty that all ambient chill artists strive for. The variance in instrumentation keeps active listeners engaged, but the project as a whole is laid-back enough to put on as background music for studying, reading, or daydreaming the cabin fever away. The artists who have inspired this young man's work would be proud of the music he is making. You can check out A L A S K A on Soundcloud (keep in mind that this is the only place it is available) and follow him on Twitter @alaskamusic7 for updates on new music!
On a personal note, I want to again wish all of my readers a happy new year! I am happy to be getting back to blogging in 2018 and I plan to stick with a better and more active schedule this time around.
Thanks for reading!