When done properly, ambient music is supposed to disappear. The sound is still there, but it’s meant to become a part of you, seeping calmly into your skin. Despite its minimal sonic arrangements, the best ambient work forges an emotional connection, stirring up strong personal memories. (The worst is at least quiet enough that you can ignore it and get other shit done.)
“Silencio,” a 34-minute release from Washington, D.C. musicians Blacklodge and EM.G, was recorded during the height of 2016’s social and political tensions. Split into two 17-minute halves, the track groans anxiously, using hypnotic synths and vocal drones to convey a tension and unease. While it loosely scans as “ambient,” and while that genre is generally known for its calmer side, “Silencio” feels edgy and menacing.
Which is impressive considering that Blacklodge and EM.G—aka producer Alex Tebeleff and vocalist Maggie Gilmore—created “Silencio” after just one conversation about the benefits of silence.
“This started more as expression and experimentation—a conversation about what humans-as-creatives are capable of, both separately and together,” Tebeleff says. “It’s nice to have an idea in our head that’s an expression of words and feelings.”