Still Life an ‘ambient’ sonic journey

Dawn Golden – Still Life

(Downtown/Mad Decent/Fontana North, 2014)

Dexter Tortoriello is an electronica artist based in Los Angeles, and is also a member of the duo known as Houses. Still Life is his debut album as a solo artist, and the music is stunning. At times stark and minimalist, with lush textural climaxes, the production is top-notch.

Tortoriello’s vocals occasionally sound like Chris Martin (Coldplay), but with clever delays, autotune and other sonic treatments. It should be noted that autotune is used here as an artistic effect, not as a correctional tool for untalented singers, which is sadly perpetuating the stream of underqualified teen pop icons currently dominating pop radio these days…but I digress.

Still Life is ambient, colourful and engaging with numerous emotional highs and lows as we experience the sonic journey. The Beekeeper almost sounds like a gentler Nine Inch Nails, while Brief Encounter is stark and open. Other highlights include

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