The Ideal Setback

Window Seat

Somehow Todd Chappell managed to squeeze out another ambient release this year. Maybe “squeeze out” is not such a great term. He simply opened the windows and let the inspiration fly in. After all, this Memphis artist seems to write a couple of tracks a week. In Window Seat, Chappell creates lighter melodies with an uplifting character of a major chord. Personally, I like things a bit darker and gloomier, a note with which Chappell closed up his debut, Dream Dialogue. With Window Seat he promises a glimpse of a better day. The sophomore release for Chapelle, composing under the alias The Ideal Setback, opens up its petals in a morning glory after a heavy midnight storm. For me, the two albums encompass the yin and yang of Chapelle’s awakening to the complex beauty of the simplicity within minimal ambient sound. One, measured with darker and brooding dissonance; the other, with basic ratios of baroque tonality. Both are in play, depending on the mood.

In Window Seat, Chappell attempts to touch the essence within Brian Eno’s words:

Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.

These words were printed back in 1978, within the liner notes of Eno’s Music for Airports – one of my all-time favorite ambient pieces till this day. Thirty years later, Chappell keeps these ideas going. Recommended for super early mornings, when you haven’t slept all night, and your mind is overly tired, but still awake.