“Quiet Hillside” is the second studio release by Oregon-based ambient composer Daren Keck. The music of the 51-minute album, created while being in retreat, is meant to convey the high and lows of solitude and a state of peace.
As such, it is an intimate work of art a bit in vein of the fine crafted works of Ruben Garcia or Eno & Budd, while expanding the sonic spectrum through cyclic structures and long delays. The main instrument on the nine compositions is an acoustic piano, accompanied by delicately moulded soundscapes and subtle textures.
The outcome is gentle and at times minimal, a calming and occasionally cinematic and melancholic reverie coming and going like a soft breeze. In my opinion, the strongest cuts on this moody and quiet album are found in its second half, and especially applies to “Slow Steps” and the even stronger “Winds at War”.