Poppy Nogood – Mood Paintings

8 Production
9.5 Composition
9 Mood
8 Instrumentation

Long story short: I had a bad day at work. On the train back home, I started listening to Mood Paintings. Shortly afterwards, I was not angry anymore. The album cleared my mind and healed my spirit.

RELEASE DATE: 06 February 2017  LABEL: Preserved Sound

Short story long: I’ve thought many times about music and its healing power. When choosing an album, the listener’s mood usually plays a big role. I can’t imagine someone experiencing great sadness and at the same time listening to happy tunes, unless one seeks masochism deliberately. Ambient music seems to go further. It personally helps me see things with perspective, dropping me in the present time regardless of what I had been doing before: a natural high.

Poppy Nogood has been releasing ambient music for a while. The New York composer had an excellent debut with his Leftover Noise EP (2014), combining atmospheric sounds with electronica. Among his following releases, Music for Mourning (2016) surprised with its string-based contemporary classical music approach. Now, a precious experimental experience that beautifully shines is Mood Paintings, his latest contribution to the ambient world.

The opening track “The light hits your eyes, i blink” is based on a wonderful crescendo where the only existing rhythm is provided by a piano melody cutting a slow-motion, hyper-cascade of pads and speedy strings, until a natural fade out is reached. I could not help but wonder how stressed violins could make me feel so calm, and that mystery increased during the next track “last gasp”. Suddenly an answer came out of nowhere into my mind: these crazy notes belong to a much longer sound wave, a wave one can only notice when time does not matter anymore, when one is ready to admire the song as a whole.

Harmonies and rhythm get pretty definite in “treading”, which provides a comfortable home feeling. However, intriguing violins fade in to remind the audience how ethereal the concept of “home” sometimes turns into. It is amazing how those same strings are used in the last track “hold me like you do the sun”, causing a final unexpected twist into an imaginary deep space that I’d rather not spoil.

This album makes a lot of sense. Human emotions are fearlessly explored with an outcome that stands out on many levels. It is no matter if one gets trapped by its tiniest details or its bigger pictures. Dare replaying it on a loop to get a perfect self-reflective tale of cyclical rebirth. Meet infinity in a 38-minute nutshell.

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