Roll The Dice’s Malcolm Pardon makes a rare solo appearance with a long awaited debut album of solemn keys, with his regular collaborator Peder Mannerfelt providing co-production alongside Aasthma bandmate Pär Grindvik.
Evidently the more brooding half of Roll The Dice, judging by the air of ‘Hello Death’, Pardon carries over that project’s wistfulness and cinematic qualities to his solo work in eight minimalist works subtly adorned and rendered with atmospheric synth ornamentation by his fellow Swedish collaborators. The results could be called ambient neo-classical for home listening, but is elevated by its synthy input and a tangible kosmiche yearn, opening out immersive space between Pardon’s gently rolling keys and the complementary arps and pads that flesh out the music’s firmament, ultimately casting a sort of lonely, earthly sound that longs for the heavens.
It's almost solo piano, but Pardon's skeletal loops are augmented with subtle, atmospheric electronic elements from Mannerfelt and Grindvik that imbue proceedings with an almost an Eno-esque quality, echoing the tapey, hypnotic minimalism of "Thursday Afternoon" or the delicate cosmic throb of "Cluster & Eno”. We've been subject to far too much solo piano tinkling over the last few years, but "Hello Death" avoids the usual pitfalls. It's never too pretty or too obvious, avoiding excess and basking in silvery, widescreen subtlety. There's beauty to be found here, but it's encased in psychedelic reverberation and woozy, tape-dubbed electronix.