Release Notes

Label: Polar Seas
Released: April 5th, 2024
Mastered By: Alex @ quiet details
Artwork By: Avi Engel


With so much great music released almost every single day, I can’t seem to find the time to write about compilations. Yes, I still listen to them, and yes, I’ve put out a few myself, but in terms of coverage on Headphone Commute, I tend to set aside the precious time I have for full-length albums. It’s just another way to create a structure with artificial limitations. So when this final compilation from one of my favourite ambient labels lands on my desk, I decide to make an extraordinary exception. The press release for this collection of 23 tracks across a broad spectrum of contributors only briefly mentions the cause, with all proceeds donated to FLAP – a Canadian organization focusing on the protection of birds. But it is the small, barely noticeable word “final” that gets my attention, while it may have escaped yours. I decided to verify my dreaded apprehension with the label curator himself, Brad Deschamps (aka anthéne), who sadly confirms my suspicion about that casually dropped “final” word that Sky Within Us is indeed its last (75th) release for this Ontario-based imprint, which has been on my rotations since 2012 [and recognized in my venerable Label Directory].

Finishing the label is something I’ve thought about a lot in the last year. I had a few albums that I’d already committed to but decided I would not end it with those. My friend Avi Engel then reached out and asked about helping to put together a charity compilation (which we’ve done before) and the idea of having friends and collaborators all together for the last release on the label made perfect sense to me. Plus, it worked out to being the 75th release which seemed like a nice number to finish with.

— Brad Deschamps

It’s never easy for me to say goodbye to musicians who choose [intentionally or not] to exit this scene, but it’s incredibly challenging to part with labels who have been selflessly serving the music community by investing their time, and, yes, lots of money, to bring us all this. Too many times, I felt like hanging up the hat myself when doubt with “what’s the purpose of it all?” gnaws on the inside with its cold from dark and empty corners. One day, it will inevitably win. Until then, we go on… And so it’s time to celebrate all that which Polar Seas has brought into this world with Sky Within Us.

As you traverse the deep archives of these pages, you will inevitably land on coverage of Polar Seas, which has begun with North Atlantic Drift (the duo of Mike Abercrombie and Brad Deschamps), as well as Northumbria, TriacCeler, Hakobune, Andrew Tasselmyer, Rosales, zakè, kjPjusk & Arovane, Moss Covered Technology, and of course, anthéne, who has appeared on numerous Best of the Year lists in the past decade. This final compilation features all of my favourites, such as ISKREDavid Corderoawakened soulsIan Hawgood, fields we found, and others, plus a few new names to these ears, rounding off this nearly two-hour ambient journey with beautiful music worthy of your time and money, especially because of its non-profit nature one last time. And so… I never say goodbye… I’ll simply see you later, Polar Seas… perhaps in another manifestation because I know you won’t be able to stay still…