Published Mar 25, 2019John Daniel creates ambient soundscapes as Forest Management, and the Chicago-based producer excels at them. He uses subtlety as a means to prod his audience into what is ultimately an intensely deep listening experience. Gracefully employing loops and drones, the aura within which Daniel operates modulates only slightly as the music unfurls. Yet peering between the layers of sound reveals a spectral complexity almost hidden within the nuance.
Passageways is Daniel's paean to an apartment complex in which he spent his childhood exploring. It is both a reference to the corridors throughout which he ventured, as well as the tendency for memories to distort the sizes and shapes of the places we once inhabited. This structure most likely felt like an enormous labyrinth to a young Daniel, wherein the reality is likely far more mundane.
This focus on memory is felt in the decaying drones that Daniel employs in Passageways. "Ageless Imagination" is haunted by a ghostly clicking, whereas "Blue Leaves" appears to be made up of shredded loops of classical music. It's only the closing track, "Various Sources of Light," that feels at peace with the impermanent nature of memory, its ringing drones simulating a peal of bells over its 15-minute runtime. This piece is the perfect foil for the more brittle material that preceded it and is a superb way to wrap up another fine Forest Management release. (Whited Sepulchre)