Michaël Bijker - Ways to Travel
Setting the stage for the sonics to come, “Clear Mind Motions” aptly begins our adventurous travels with a calming arpeggio that alleviates any prevailing anxieties. Surrounded by sparkling cymbals, cheerful chirps and bells, and buoyed by a spacious drum groove, Michaël gently raises us higher and higher. At its equinox, the track finds us thirty-thousand feet above ourselves, looking down and observing all is well.
Now with an open heart and mind, we’re happily drawn into the inviting “Badulla Caves”, a calmly investigative song whose sonic caverns shimmer in the light of its bright melodies and dripping tones. As such, “Badulla Caves” exemplifies Michaël’s approach: his music treads lightly, but nevertheless purposefully, awakening feelings of joy and wonder. Tracks glisten with details, and are deeply layered at times, but never are they heavy-handed; a sense of lightness pervades all.
Just beyond midway through the album, after a brief tour through Cambodia’s “Siem Reap”, we land at one of the standout tracks, the simply titled “Grids”. This joyful song rejoices in the beauty of the fluid motions inherent in even the most orderly, and arranged, systems. A bright, classically-electronic arpeggio acts as our guide, seeing us through the brisk current. A lush ambient interlude, punctuated by the chimes of a prayer bell, gently returns our attention to the Now, before we’re plunged back into our earlier reverie.
After swiftly moving through the lively network of “Grids”, Michaël dims the lights in the four remaining tracks. “Dolce Outubro” begins with setting the sun for peaceful reflectance on the day’s adventures, and gestures to prepare ourselves for further travels. And we won’t have long to wait: “When the lights go out” takes us on an awe-inspiring moonlit journey with melodies that dance upon the sub-bass and deep kicks that round out the low-end. Seamlessly making the transition to the conclusion of this feel-good journey, “What we are made of”, offers time for reflection, to rediscover a sense of stillness before we’re returned to our day’s activities.
Ways To Travel is remarkable not only as a pleasing listen but also because its message transcends its unmistakably synthetic makeup: Michaël has skillfully produced an electronic album with a human face, something with a surprisingly naturalistic quality.
- Clear Mind Motions (1/10)
- Badulla Caves (2/10)
- Colombo (3/10)
- Green Faith (4/10)
- Siem Reap (5/10)
- Grids (6/10)
- Doce Outubro (7/10)
- Being There (8/10)
- When the lights go out (9/10)
- What we are made of (10/10)
- June 13, 2014