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Quick Hits: SUSS, Bremer/McCoy, Amy Reid

Last updated on December 7, 2021

Night Suite – SUSS. I love ambient country, and the four people of SUSS are some of its most esteemed practitioners. This collection of five pieces is themed around the experience of night in five Western locales, three of which fall in my state of Arizona.

The pieces are suitably spacious and inviting, as they play with the theme to such an extent that these are almost soundscapes instead of songs. (“Flagstaff, AZ” is the farthest out on this front.) Yet they retain a sense of melodiousness that hangs over each of them, such as in the subtly layered guitars of “Kingman, AZ.” “Needles, CA” sounds like the heavens opening up a blanket of stars, as reported by someone reverent. A truly lovely collection.

Natten Bremer/McCoy. Pianist Morton McCoy and bassist Jonathan Bremer make lithe, svelte compositions that will make as much sense to ambient enthusiasts as jazz ones. McCoy plays with light, elegant precision–the melodies ring gently with little syncopation. Bremer fills in the spaces with stately stand-up bass thrum. Openers “Natten” and “Mit Hjerte” have an expansive sweep, while “Nu og Altid” and “April” are intimate. Ultimately, the duo make timelessly beautiful music that calls to mind jazz nightclubs, rooftops, studio apartments, earnestness, and young love.

Dome Trax – Amy Reid. Ambient of the glittering, arpeggiated, spacey kind. It feels serious and light simultaneously, like it’s Reid’s job to brighten the mood of a dark space. (Titles like “Theme Song for Hope” and “Clouds Have Parted” bear this out.) The composition quality is high: Reid uses the building blocks of ambient, yet avoids tropes with subtle techniques and transformations. It’s an endearing, engaging short release.