Nick Schofield 
Ambient Ensemble 

Backwards Music • 2024

Nick Schofield’s Ambient Ensemble is a lush ambient-classical exploration of playful collaboration.

The word that comes to mind when starting the first track of Nick Schofield’s Ambient Ensemble is “sound bath.” The piano trickles in and across the soundstage, strings yawn into the fore, and the synths envelop the listener; all of the sonic textures Schofield employs here is to give a sense of ease and pleasantness. 

You can hear the breath of Yolande Laroche’s clarinet contrasted with glassy synths draped in reverb. Philippe Charbonneau and Mika Posen’s strings are satisfyingly layered on top of warm synth pads. The effect of lushness, warmth and dynamism serves Schofield’s intent of a “playful, serene” sonic space. 

The expansion of Schofield’s sound from his previous records is in large part due to these additional performances, and Schofield arranges them with a deft sensibility. There’s the post-romantic sensibilities of Satie’s lounge piano here, and deceptively simple minimalism is one of Schofield’s fortes. 

In a world of Spotify algorithms thriving off of a glut of rote ambient music, it’s satisfying to hear an album that is so clearly hand-crafted and intentional. Fans of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Thanya Iyer and Nils Frahm will enjoy this ambient-classical album.

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