Album of the Month: Slave Ambient


Feb 29 2012, 13:34

This Month's album is Slave Ambient by The War on Drugs.

The First Glance:

Beautiful, abstract summer beach scene in the cover really seems like this album would be a mellow, psychedelic and lightly atmospheric.

Deeper dive into the album:

The main elements are mellow acoustic, psychedelic western ambient, singer-songwriter feeling, a strong indie atmosphere. Landscape is constantly sunny, people are happy or just stoned. All kinds of lovely bleeps and bloops come out with the instrumentation.
Vocalist is singing about his story, difficulties of life are brought closely to my mind.
Open ambience, voices echoing in the distance.
Alternative and blues sounds can be picked from this album, it's not necessarily bad.
Back to the soundscape, reminds me of a summer vacation, on a rocky sea beach.
At the same time living on the beach, relaxing, also watching the beach getting more distant as I drive away from it, on the sunny rocky mountain roads. Seeing friends in the distance waving at me. Also sitting on a mountain, admiring the scene, like the Grand Canyon, an eagle/hawk flying in the distance and the sun is shining bright.

The Plus

+ Strange, yet relaxing wonderful ambient
+ Album cover is really pretty!
+ Instrumentation is variegated
+ Great music for chilling during the summer
+ Cinematic experiences like ones from a possible music from the 80's

The Minus

- Singer doesn't have a lot of different tricks, or hooks, relies on just one kind of style.
- Gets dull, if you cannot focus


1."Best Night" 5:30
2."Brothers" 4:28
3."I Was There" 3:49
4."Your Love Is Calling My Name" 6:01
5."The Animator" 2:16
6."Come to the City" 4:31
7."Come for It" 0:27
8."It's Your Destiny" 4:49
9."City Reprise #12" 3:05
10."Baby Missiles" 3:33
11."Original Slave" 3:11
12."Black Water Falls" 5:10

Total length:

Album genre(s): Folk rock, indie, shoegaze, psychedelic rock, Blues
Year: 2011
Label: Secretly Canadian


The band:

The War on Drugs
Adam Granduciel - vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, synthesizers, samplers, harmonica (1, 3, 6 & 10), bass guitar (3), organ (5, 6 & 12)
Robbie Bennett - piano (1, 2 and 8), acoustic guitar (2), synthesizer (12), tapes (4, 7), percussion (8)
Dave Hartley - bass guitar (1, 2, 6, 8, 10 & 12), synthesizer (3), drums (6), twelve-string guitar (6), electric guitar (8, 10), electric autoharp (10)
Kurt Vile - electric guitar (1 & 8)
Mike Zanghi - drums (2, 6, 10 & 12), percussion (2, 6, 10 & 12), guitar (4), Mu-Tron Bi-Phase (10)
Steven Urgo - drums (1)

Additional Musicians:

Jeff Ryan - drums (3)
Chad Stockslager - upright piano (3)
Jeff Zeigler - drum programming (4), harmonizers (4), patch bay (4)
Michael Johnon - Eventide (4), Moogs (4), hamonizer settings (5), drums (6)

Additional Personnel

John Ashley - Engineer
John Congleton - Engineer
Paul Gold - Mastering
Michael Johnson - Drums, Engineer, Eventide, Modular Moog, Treatments
Brian McTear - Mixing
Daniel Murphy - Design
Kim Roney - Piano
Jeff Ryan - Drums
Chad Stockslager - Piano
Jesse Trbovich - Saxophone
Kurt Vile - Guitar (Electric)
Mike Zanghi - Drums, Percussion
Jeff Zeigler - Drum Programming, Engineer, Producer

Country: U.S.
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass, 2xLP
Final/Average Grade: 9+/8- (Impressive, yet meh...)

Thank you for reading AOTM :) This was quite difficult to write, since I had so much different opinions of this album, but it's awesome, recommended! -Alex

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