Life Toward Twilight’s Daniel Tuttle returns with his first complete concept album in years. Tied together more by mood than concrete story, this album begins with the sound of a music box on “Sleepy/Solitude,” and though dark ambient composers have been using music boxes to create horrific atmosphere at least since the days of Coil’s unreleased “Hellraiser” soundtrack, Tuttle actually does something different with it. This isn’t horror movie stuff; it’s actually quite pretty, creating a pleasant nostalgia through softly plinking melodies against a background of static. This sort of dusty yet comforting sensation continues on “Threnody to the Quiet Mind,” with its sparse, somehow antique-sounding piano, and “The Theft of Memory,” with wooden rattling and creaks–again, a frequent trope of dark ambient used here for something other than chills and creepiness–conjuring up a sense of lost treasures languishing in an old attic somewhere. Even the noisy, more industrialized elements on this recording are less oppressive than rustic and old-fashioned, more suited to some small town in the early 20th century than a crumbling futuristic apocalypse. “Threnody to Our Time Apart” uses what sounds like a rumbling steam train for a sense of melancholy, and the background effect of “An Incoherent Lullaby” sounds like static only at first, gradually resolving itself into the smoldering embers of a warm fireplace as rain beats down on the roof above. On previous releases, Tuttle demonstrated a mastery of dark soundscapes that equaled that of NON and Desiderii Marginis, but with this album he uses similar techniques to create an altogether different mood, a bittersweet tranquility that should especially please fans of the emotive “ghost ambient” of painter and composer Tor Lundvall.

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