Denver electronic artist Ten and Tracer has released his latest album Cold Finishes the Monk for free download and we can't suggest too strongly that you hurry over and grab it. Previous releases for the well-reagrded producer have ranged from super-intricate IDM to chilled-out ambient (plus a fair bit of sexy, hip-swinging techno under another alias) but this work ranks up there with his most genuinely ambient -- and accomplished -- to date. Meditative and inviting, these eleven tracks are just about perfect examples of the often-mischaracterized ambient form.
The website liner notes offered with the release name an odd set of influences: "The writings of Nishida Kitaro and Dogen, and his studies in evolution, genetics and developmental biology." Also identified are an "ever growing collection of tape recorders, strange films, warped records, and custom-built software," which is slightly more apparent.
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Whatever ingredients went into the mix, the results are beautiful: eleven tracks full of meditations on space, movement and tone. They range from shifting, ethereal soundscapes to minimalist piano tone poems. Environmental sounds, smeary snippets of voices and slowly evolving synth tones are the main building blocks of these tracks, but each listen reveals new elements. They are minimalist yet minutely detailed and reward either background play or close attention -- quite a feat.
You can download the entire disc as high-quality, 320kbps mp3 files at the album page on the Acre C Collective website. He's also offering an uncompressed version from Bandcamp for a donation. If you like it well enough, you can get it in physical form with some nice bonuses - namely in a handmade case with a bunch of Ten and Tracers artwork, such as the zen drawings to the right, included. Prices range from $16 for the standard edition to $38, which includes some hand-drawn pages and other cool stuff.