In 2020 a wonderful and ethereal record dropped from Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea called Liberamente. It was a serene drop into slow-moving ambient music that felt like a portal from the chaos of that year and into a place where the mind could heal. It was one of my favorite records of 2020, and a source of mental comfort when it was hard to find.
The trio of Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea, which consisted of Marc Ertel, zakè and Damien Duque, has now become a duo called zakè and City of Dawn. zakè(Zach Frizzell) and City of Dawn(Damien Duque) continue the sound explorations they began with Liberamente, but seem to have honed in on the essence of truly great ambient/new age: simplicity. Agape finds the perfect balance of melody and musical escapism. A glorious release of calm, reflection, and introspection.
Agape is not background music. It’s sound that asks for your full attention. The best ambient works pull you in and surround you in their meticulously-crafted sonics. Frizzell and Duque, a duo that pull both Midwestern(Indiana) and Southwestern(Texas) roots encapsulate their home states perfectly in the work. Vast, wide open spaces collide with earnest emotional connections through circuital wizardry. Flat lands interspersed with moments of hilly beauty rise from the slow drifts of melody and swelling electronics.
Something like the beautiful opener “Wanderlust” encapsulates zakè and City of Dawn’s “sound”, as it were. Cavernous melodies that seem to rise like the sun from a Texas horizon; or shards of light breaking through the dense tree cover of a Brown County fall morning. It’s an all-encompassing sound, and one you can happily get lost in. “Karpholite” feels like staring into space, clusters of stars morphing into themselves. It’s the kind of sound that brings up big ideas and introspection.
“Agape Suite” is 15 minutes of pure sonic bliss. It brings zakè and City of Dawn’s sound into one, epic song. Shimmering notes melt into one another, emanating like ethereal light that beckons you in. There’s a warmth to the song; a welcoming sonic tome that gives the listener a pocket of existential bliss to heal in. It’s a stunning sound achievement.
zakè and City of Dawn’s Agape is yet another masterful slice of ambient/new age to get lost in. Gorgeously curated and expertly engineered new age for a world that desperately needs some peace of mind and spirit.
‘Agape’ is out now via Azure Vista Records.