REVIEW: Bloom’s Taxonomy — Foley Age (LP)
Though not traditionally thought of as being a reliable source for warmth and robust tonality, the synths that make up the better part of the instrumentation in Bloom’s Taxonomy’s Foley Age are anything but a cold, robotic element in the music. On the contrary, they serve an integral role as the most vivid and direct producer of chills in this latest release from the critically-acclaimed one-man band. Whether it be the fragility of “Obrigada Nada,” the lust of “Pluvius” or the sonic magnitude of “Elephant Park,” there’s an instrumental prowess that is unusual to find in the mainstream to put it quite mildly, and while I wouldn’t call this the most avant-garde ambient work you’re going to hear this season, it’s still one of the most provocative I’ve personally reviewed.
There’s definitely some challenge presented by the relationship between rhythm and melody in “Mount Bromo” and “Imaginary Angles” that Bloom’s Taxonomy has to face in the first half of Foley Age, but he doesn’t shy away from the more difficult moments in the journey here at all. His eagerness to step into the deep end right off the bat is something I don’t commonly come across in either of the two channels responsible for pumping new music to the masses in 2021, but I don’t get the impression that he’s stunting or attempting to cultivate mystique simply by putting himself in tricky situations compositionally. There’s nothing in a song like the title track to suggest anything but a dedication to sonic evolution, which, if you heard his EP Bitter Lake, is obviously something he’s expanding on all the further in this latest release.
The abstract components of the harmony in “Cosmic Village of the Jaguars,” “Pluvius” and “Tumbleweed Tornado” the same feel surprisingly cohesive and focused, even without the assistance of the meticulous mixing here. There’s such a raw vitality seeping through the most muted of corners within each of these songs, and still we’re never made to feel as though we’re listening to something created using the indulgences of studio software at all. Bloom’s Taxonomy understands the vulnerability that can be conveyed in good ambient music, and his artful employment of a multifaceted technique in this record is quite reflective of that.
You don’t have to be a big experimental ambient fan to like what Foley Age is all about, but for those listeners out there who have been hoping to come across something of enormous sonic depth and emotional connectivity, Bloom’s Taxonomy’s most recent album is a must-listen. Fit for a round of remixes but still strong enough to remain a pillar in his discography, this record is the perfect template on which this artist can continue to create a sound truly his and his alone, and though I don’t recommend him running back into the studio for a quick follow-up to Foley Age, Bloom’s Taxonomy would be wise to capitalize on the creative momentum he’s currently experiencing in some capacity or another. His is an inspirational style, and definitely one I want to revisit again soon.