JC Harnell’s CTLG: Calm, Composed & Electric
JC Harnell is an electronic composer with an edge. His chilled and tranquil tunes are the soundtrack to walking down an endless sandy beach with the bright sunshine in the sky, not a soul in sight, not a care in the world.
July of this year saw the release of his first full-length EP, CTLG, which boasts 21 songs, all of complex musical art. Of which the peaceful, smoothly composed harmonies are nothing if not wonderfully blissful, ideal for clearing your mind and floating away on a little cloud of sound.
The elegant combination of literally natural and earthy sounds, under electronic instrumentals, forms a soothing and emotive quality that is something like an amplified, wordless lullaby. A lullaby that conjures up beautiful scenes in your mind – listening to one of these tracks is like looking at a landscape painting and throwing yourself right into the middle of it.
The inspiration this talented young creator takes from nature isn’t just expressed in the song titles; it floods through every note, every pulse and every second of his compositions. As a collective, the album is really very strong and offers a great deal to lovers of atmospheric and emotive music, but also as individuals each song brings a different element to the track, all poignant in their own way.
One of the more compelling tracks on the album, Storms Brewing, hears crashing waves behind a beautiful orchestra that falls easily from note to note – a blend that leaves you feeling like you’re in the middle of the sea, with soft waves crashing all around.
Surgery Lights is faster, more urgent with terse drum beats and an intense feel. This composition feels passionate, yet peaceful, like watching a storm from the safety of a window. Though different, this one is equally as potent as the Storms Brewing and still with that same gentle, tranquil sentiment that laces the whole album.
Snow Blind is something quite different again, darker, and edgier; with an almost dirty grind it is a brilliantly electric piece of work with which JC skilfully punctuates the generally soothing stream of this album. With layer upon layer of rhythms, beats and diverse sounds it is impossible not to feel energised by this heady symphony. It is emotionally electric, perfectly composed; ultimately a charge of reverberation and pulsating layers that for me make this the stand-out track.
As well as making for the ultimate ambience album, the CTLG collection sees itself comfortably reaching for the ‘soundtracks’ bar and JC’s success in this field is already testament to this. His best soundtrack masterpieces were recently displayed at the Cannes Film Festival, including his debut release The Lost EP. It’s little wonder JC was one of the 10 finalists out of the hundreds to enter in the much coveted Tate Tracks competition, which was judged by musical legends like Basement Jaxx.
Whatever your daydream, wherever you want to be, CTLG takes you there. JC Harnell should accompany every drive through the mountains, illustrate every mood of your day and fill every room on a lazy Sunday.
You can stream JC Harnell’s full album at JC’s myspace page — I strongly suggest you do!
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