The latest from Ffion(Thomas and Ashleigh Ragsdale) has the ARP-loving electronic duo taking their already vast and dense sound into more long-form territory. Since their debut on label Soundtracking The Void back in 2018, Ffion has continuously evolved the sound into something deeper and cinematic while still enveloping melodies in rhythmic intent.
With Radials Ffion has gifted us with four long form works that lean in heavy with a cosmic crush and emotional expanse. This is a glove that fits Ffion very well, giving us something to sink into and contemplate it all for a bit.
The ARP is a dream machine capable of glorious ascents and dark lunges into the abyss. Ffion knows this and works both ends of the spectrum in their compositions. On album opener “Open Spaces” we’re gifted with a swath of pink-hued clouds and ethereal haze. The song is quiet ambient and reflective tones that evoke endless sonic brush strokes that lead to something stunning. On the flip side “Orris” sounds like the cusp of something destructive. Ominous tones and a wavering, building wall of tension emanates from the speakers. It’s like a migraine building strength in order to take us out at the knees.
“Opal Rose” has the towering omnipotence of a Vangelis or Klaus Schulze, building momentum thru compositional integrity. How do you do that? By not giving it all up in the first two or three minutes. You build anticipation thru repetition and melodic sophistication. Closer “Even Lights Flicker” steadies and hums like a distant light on the horizon, or like a specter flickering between this world and the other. It’s subtlety and restraint gives us the kind of ending an album this good requires.
Once again Thomas and Ashleigh Ragsdale push the ARP to new levels musical excellence, and Radials stands as yet another stunning sonic foot forward for Ffion.
8.1 out of 10
‘Radials’ is available now via Disintegration State. Buy it here.