Well, it’s finally happened: ambient trap is here, and most EDM fans should be excited. Once ambient artists begin making a genre of music, it means it’s here to stay. It’s not surprising, as trap as a beat structure is quite versatile, but it is an interesting idea to pair the generally bass-heavy beat with ambient and esoteric bleeps and bloops usually associated with more experimental electronica.
Pulsar, an electronic artist out of the UK, is not necessarily known for ambient music. He’s had releases with the likes of Ministry of Sound and Gutterfunk which were much more rave-based, and he has also worked with Toddla T and El-B in more pop realms. It appears that is linking up with the label Indigo Movement, a small label also out of the UK which inspired Pulsar to make this sort of ambient/trap hybrid on his new dual single, “Glimpse of the Cosmos”/”To and Fro.”
Indigo Movement has a very specific aesthetic for their releases, namely that they focus on the low-frequency spectrum of sound, and of course trap lends itself very well to that. There also seems to be quite a funky vibe to many of their releases, as some previous artists they’ve worked with include Sepia, Argo and Duckem.
Pulsar’s release ticks all these boxes, as “Glimpse of the Cosmos” is very ambient, very low-frequency and very trap. This track is an interesting and surprising because it has all the trills and delays of a standard trap beat, but it is very much in a cosmic. Tangerine Dream-like ambient space when it comes to the melody. Somehow these two elements meld very well together and create a new sonic space where the pauses and the space between beats and notes are as important as the beats and notes themselves. That is the earmark of a truly experimental ambient piece, trap beat or no.
“To and Fro,” while still in the ambient wheelhouse, has much more of that characteristic Indigo Movement funk. The beat is markedly faster than in “Glimpse of the Cosmos”, and it has a jazzy underbeat which makes it much more danceable than the average experimental electronic track. The melody is also a bit funky and fun, though still with a cosmic/electro synth vibe. The overall effect is something sort of akin to early Hudson Mohawke or Mogwai.
“Glimpse of the Cosmos” and “To and Fro” are both extremely well-produced and seem to take the best parts from all of Pulsar’s influences, then marry them in such a way where it almost seems like he’s created his own genre. Here’s hoping he continues to release with Indigo Movement, as it’s definitely a collaboration that’s brought out the best in his work.