Andrew Wasylyk shows his musical range with the ambient Themes for Buildings and Spaces (4 stars)

Andrew Wasylyk – Themes for Buildings and Spaces album review

With his second solo collection, the member of Idlewild and Hazey Janes has created an instrumental tribute to his home city of Dundee

'It must be as ignorable as it is interesting' was Brian Eno's 1978 mission statement for ambient music pretty much at the point when he was shaping the genre's future direction. As with any sonic movement, two records can exist within its field while still sounding poles apart. So, ambient can easily accommodate as diverse a duo as Eno's epochal Music for Airports and Andrew Wasylyk's Themes for Buildings and Spaces.

Certainly, that title could easily exist within the discography of a Robert Fripp or Harold Budd, but Wasylyk uses the landscape and architectural vibe to concoct a diverse set of eight tracks (the longest of which clocks in at a most un-ambient three minutes and 13 seconds) inspired by his home town of Dundee. Having previously lent his musical prowess to the likes of Idlewild, Hazey Janes and Art of the Memory Palace, Wasylyk (actually Andrew Mitchell, who has taken his Ukrainian grandfather's surname as his stage moniker) delivers a second solo collection which ditches the soaraway soulful vocals from 2015 debut Soroky to produce an instrumental album resplendent with brass, percussion, synths and samples of young Taysiders playing outside.

The greatest successes are the more mournful pieces such as 'Ghosts of Park Place', and 'Come the Autumn' (the most Eno-esque number on show here), while the nostalgia-fuelled 'Menzieshill' wouldn't have felt out of place on King Creosote's From Scotland With Love. Even the more upbeat segments, like 'Lower Dens Works' and 'Under High Blue Skies', suggest a mysterious and murky hinterland.

Certainly not ignorable and interesting at the very least, Wasylyk's contribution to the ambient genre might not be remoulding the form but it has definitely given his solo career a fresh perspective. And anything that adds to the artistic kudos of bonnie Dundee should be heralded as a good thing.

Out on Fri 28 Apr

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