Next to his solo releases, ambient composer James Johnson also collaborated with several other musicians (such as Vir Unis and Stephen Philips) which resulted in some beautiful results. The 60-minute “Forgotten Places” is a slightly bit harder to chew, as the accompanying musician this time is Robert Scott Thompson who specializes on light experimental/abstract and darker ambient.
The opening pieces “A Slow Return”, “Resonant Landscape” and “Stolen Moment” still sound tender, contemplative and heavenly (Eno’s “The Pearl” and “On Land” along Tim Story come to mind). From “Then & Now” on the drifting ambiences of textures, field recordings, string pads and piano start transforming slowly but surely in a lesser relaxed moodscape. This is due to a slice of ongoing tension and restlessness rustling deep underneath the morphing, desolate sounding ambient sketches along the addition of less velvet aural bits carrying the signature of Mr. Thompson. This shows especially on the tracks “Low & Clear” and “Malay”.
Overall, “Forgotten Places” offers low-key atmospheric and calming spaces turning out a bit darker and a tad less soothing compared to Mr Johnsons own works.