Wednesday 1 July 2020



Most well known not by name, but for being the bassist of Future Islands, now Baltimore-based William Cashion is carving out a world of music all his own with the release of a debut solo album.

'Triple Ocean', one of a pair of singles taken from the album, exemplifies the ambient flavours that feature on it, the title of which —Postcard Music — echoes ancestor of ambient Erik Satie's musique d'ameublement or "furniture music" and purveyor of Japanese ambient equivalent, kankyō ongaku (environmental music) Hiroshi Yoshimura's Music for Nine Post Cards.

The watery credentials of Cashion's track are, of course, an intended product of his creation, named 'Triple Ocean' after a hand-painted sign he saw along the road during a trip to Jamaica in 2015.

"I initially came up with the piece that would become 'Triple Ocean' on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during a weekend trip to focus on writing," he tells yes/no via email. "It began with some simple layered guitar lines, which I edited down, cut up, and drenched in reverb." Note the drenched.

"When I sit down to work on music, I don't necessarily have anything in mind at first. I just start along a path, so to speak, and see where it leads me."

With cello added to make it sound yet more lush, Cashion's approach to ambience seems to be natural, prizing real-life instruments over synths, resulting a rich, living-and-breathing soundscape.

Beginning with a majestic tract of gleaming waves, a sonic introduction, the song moves into a mid-section that twangs gently like a sort of lucid lullaby. Then its "third movement" — which "emerged over time" — rises up; it ebbs and flows into a gradual crescendo of destructed wind and waves, like soft rocks tumbling over each other in the surf, empty grey skies hanging like gates to forever. Gazing at the horizon, it begins to get a little closer.

"I love the abstract and disparate effects instrumental music can have on the listener," Cashion continues, speaking on the attraction of ambient music away from the dramatic, focused songs of Future Islands. "The mind can wander, go wherever it likes. There's no focal point, no voice telling you exactly what the song is about. Music to dream to.

"I recommend listening to it with your eyes closed."

William Cashion Internet Presence ☟
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