Zuwe is an Amsterdam-based musician whose musical background and experience include mainly (ambient) electronic music and environmental recordings. As his music evolved, he started implementing more instruments such as guitar and piano. Over the years he made and released music in various electronic genres under various aliases.
Work on “SH40” started sometime after returning home from a vacation in Japan, which resulted in the notion he had apparently accumulated years of inspiration. So alongside writing and producing “SH40”, Zuwe also made “Endless’, an album inspired by summer in the Japanese countryside that was released on the Seikomart label. “SH40” on the other hand did not initially start with a specific theme in mind, but it emerged as the process progressed.
In a nutshell, the album is about a voyage of discovery to another (inhabited) planet. The individual songs represent different locations, ideas and emotions during this journey across the planet. There though are no fixed boundaries or interpretations attached to this, as such a lot is left to the listener to form his own images, feelings etc. The sound of the music is inspired by (classic) ambient albums vaporwave music (by likes as Cat Corp, and Telepath) as well as dub techno.
The 50-minute release features a neon-lit ambience spiced with occasional sequenced patterns as well as faint Azian flavours transporting the listener gently but surely to a place out of reality where one is surrounded by an aura of pastel-coloured vapour. It vaguely reminds of the first Wave World albums and Blade Runner, but “SH40’s” soundworlds for the slow lane carry their own distinct futurist aura merging longing and loneliness. This is felt particularly in the second half of “SH40” and the lovely space-floater “Lost in Time”, music to disappear in. The mastering of the recording is immaculate.
Overall rating: just above 3.5 stars.
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