Potent music has the capability to provide heightened experiences of harmony, whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual. When these energies articulate, and the realms of the mind and body begin to overlap, natural intoxicants emerge and alter the human experience, offering a kind of freedom that may be hard to find otherwise. Some might even propose that this is music’s sole and noble purpose.
The music of Ashley Bellouin is a most welcome addition to the modern catalog of harmonic experimentation, providing a truly visceral experience, which, in turn, expands the mind. With her debut album, 'Ballads', Bellouin presents the listener with two sidelong tracks, “Bourdon” and “Hummen” that slowly evolve over their respective courses. Both pieces focus on the acoustic and psychoacoustic phenomena that arise from microtonal tuning variations, and they invite the audience to enter a heightened state of listening where small details become the primary focus.
Each track unfolds into an intricate auditory journey, suggesting subtle alterations to the perception of linear time. As the pieces progress, select tones emerge and transform the sound by revealing hidden overtones. The negative spaces between closely paired pitches create complex tonal structures and shifting rhythmic patterns. In summation, both mind and body transport to a new understanding of harmony.
released November 11, 2016
Bellouin composed, performed, recorded, and mixed the album between the period of 2012-2015, with Ben Bracken and Teddy Rankin-Parker joining on electric guitar and cello, respectively. “Hummen” features Bellouin’s hand-built glass armonica, custom electronics, harmonium, electric guitar, and aluminum rods. “Bourdon” features the Sequential Prophet 6 (which Bellouin was involved in making while working at Dave Smith Instruments), custom electronics, harmonium, cello, and electric guitar.