Looking out onto the ocean from the shore, the water shimmers and pulsates; deep blue and green broken only by the occasional tipping over of a wave too tall to continue undisturbed across the surface. A white foamy wash spreads from the tumble of water and dissipates, returning to the ocean’s undulating equilibrium. But as the tide lowers, that equilibrium is disrupted. Rocks jut out through the surface, waves battering their sides.
If Oceanography, the experimental ambient record released earlier this year by Vancouver-based guitarist and composer Craig Aalders, is the undulating equilibrium of an undisturbed ocean, his alt-pop project Sun Sets West’s new track “Soft Touch” is the rock.
“Soft Touch”, the first single off Sun Sets West’s upcoming full-length release Rise and Fall with the Waves, seems to emerge from the wash of ambience that has defined Aalders’s sound up to this point. With a crisp and frantic build of drums, piano chords guide Aalders’s layered voice through the currents of guitar and samples. “Soft Touch” doesn’t eschew those textural elements that have made up his sonic palette before — the wake of delays ripple across the track as loops of guitar effects and synths dissolve into one another.