Title: Ways To Travel
Artist: Michaël Bijker
Release Date: 2014 June 13
Genre: Electronic Chillout
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Pricing: Free / Donation
Label: Archaic Horizon
Well, another week and I’ve found another netlabel that I was previously unfamiliar with: Archaic Horizon. I came across them when I was looking through a capture of Twitter feeds last week, and found this release. And, now that I have been traveling with Michaël Bijker, I am undertaking my journey to the Archaic Horizon.
Michaël Bijker: Ways To Travel
This release is like peering into someone’s private travel journal. Each track is set in a different location, and explores different aspects of that scene. For example, the opening track ‘Clear Mind Motions’ takes us on an excursion into our inner landscape. It is a track for meditating, preparing ourselves for this journey.
‘Badulla Caves’ takes us to Sri Lanka, where we experience the discovery of an underground pool. The music is very fluid, and relaxing, with a rhythm that feels like going for a relaxed swim, floating in the water and paddling around, just enjoying the environment.
‘Colombo’ takes us on a journey through the capital of Sri Lanka, with all its quirky traffic, calling voices and glitchy excursions.
But this isn’t just an album about Sri Lanka. Like the first track, several others are more about abstract, or inner journeys. The concept of travel is a metaphor for where we are mentally, what the listener wants to go, and what they experience on their journal.
The style of the release transcends the tools Michaël has chosen to create his textures. Any of these songs could be scored for any number of combinations of instruments. But, the choice of using electronic instrumentation allows him the freedom to explore the inner sonic expanses of his music in every aspect, just as his compositions allow us to explore the landscapes he presents.
I also have to mention the production / engineering of this release. It is sublime. I know I mention good production as a value that I look for in all the releases I review, but this one exceeds my normal expectations. I found it to be on a level with Tardiss’s Thisistar, or Private Collection by Jon & Vangelis (a particular favorite classical release in my collection).
Just wow. I am exceptionally happy that I found Archaic Horizon netlabel through traveling with Michaël Bijker. It’s the kind of experience that I don’t expect to have everyday when I am checking out new releases. But, what makes it even better was that Ways To Travel doesn’t seem to be an anomaly for this label. In checking out several other releases, I found they were of similar quality.
As for Ways To Travel itself, I can only give it an extremely high recommendation. Higher than my normal recommendation. It’s an electronic release that transcends the electronic genre. It is an internal and external journey, and Michaël Bijker is an exceptional guide for this journey.
[Ed Note: As of September 2018, it appears the Archaic Horizon website is down, but not completely gone. We’re including a link to this release on Internet Archive as an alternative to the Archaic Horizon website.]