Friday 17 July 2020



Space. The final frontier. Well, not in this instance — 'Stair' by Los Angeles-based producer Ymir just sounds as though it's in space. That's because in this dramatic piece of ambient music, he's rising above and looking at from afar what was (at the time) "a new urban environment" — a new resident in an alien city.

"I'd never been somewhere that never sleeps before," Ymir tells yes/no by email. Originally from North Dakota, moving to Los Angeles was an eye-opening experience; he reveals that its particular sense of "decay" was soemthing that interested him.

"I think that was sparked by the more run-down areas of the city, and how different that was from what I was used to in my (relatively) small town," he says.

Suitably, the track hums with unsteady resonance, touched with lo-fi scratches and imperfections — a sense of sonic wear-and-tear that makes it feel as though this track has been around for years, floating in the air. Most noticeable are the wheeling changes in pitch, dynamic and flighty, continuing well into the swampy drone that drenches the track's final minute.

Giant bassy notes twang out a dirge of vast Western proportions, emanating from the depths of the city for miles around, a sense of classic instrumentation yet muffled under the waves of cosmic drama; far-off pines bristle against grid systems, someone huddles beneath an overpass.

Part far more gritty alternative soundtrack to 'Space Junk Road' from Super Mario Galaxy, part out-of-body experience looking out over the countless street lights and shuffling people of LA's urban sprawl, 'Stair' is a balanced, considered view of something new. Space — and tender, detached feeling — tempered into sound.

Ymir Internet Presence ☟

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