Electronic/ambient producer Cody Sparks’ recently dropped full-length album, Gradients, is chilled-out enough to relax or do yoga to and has a beat energetic enough to dance to. In spite of being electronic, many of the sounds feel organic. For example, certain elements paint a picture of nature in the mind, such as wind rustling through trees, rain falling on rooftops or shimmering meteor showers across the sky. At times Sparks almost branches into world music through the use of tribal percussive and instrumental sounds. The modernized twist of these elements mixed with more typical electronic sounds is where Sparks is defining his unique style in this genre.
There is clear distinction between each track on this album giving a fresh variety in sound. The track “Liquid System” has a more gritty, dub quality and “Illuminate” has a gentle ethereal flow. Electronic music often consists of repetitive beats that can take away from the music if they aren’t gripping enough, but Sparks gives us repetitiveness that feels like a trance one can contently float in for a while.
Subtle use of spoken vocals as additional ambient sounds appear more towards the end of the album and add a raw humanistic element. The metaphysical lyrics on the last track, “…look within yourself…” and “…open up to the world…”, are like a guided meditation speaking directly to the listener and connecting with the audience on a new level. This album is a perfect blend of moments that are deeply spiritual and others that are light and playful, a reflection on life itself.
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