When it comes to ambient music, the clue is in the name. It is intended to evoke emotion and atmosphere, and that is exactly what Scottish producer Turtle does on debut album Human.
Where his previous two EPs, 2014’s Who Knows and 2015’s Colours, had hints of cinematic tendencies, Human on the other hand is an epic. Following it through, it is easy to imagine it soundtracking a film, from its wistful opening to its dramatic middle and finally reaching its illuminating close.
Opening track Time is as expansive as it is minimal, reaching as far as it can go sonically without ever feeling too distant. This feeling continues throughout the rest of the album, which is layered with subtle yet vivid beats.
Lead single Blood Type, featuring fellow Scot and label mate Eliza Shaddad, almost dupes you into believing it’s a hip-hop track before Shaddad’s dreamy, Parisian-tinged vocal kicks in. Title track Human, featuring Mariam the Believer, is more Eastern-sounding, with its prayer call-esque intro leading into a repetitive, chanting chorus.
While there is obviously a great deal of influence from psychedelia in many of the album’s tracks, there are also more commercial tracks here, particularly on the latter half. Solar and Push would not sound out of place on the radio or in a club and Elephant is a full-blown minimal house banger.
Ending much like it begins, closing track Note to Memory is sparsely decorated with delicate piano chords and strings to take the album’s sonic journey full circle.
Listen to: Solar, Blood Type