Some albums, for whatever reason, hit you a certain way and you end up having a personal connection with them over the years. This is one of those albums for me.
Tear Ceremony was the pseudonym of Todd Gautreau during the 90s. Over the course of four proper albums and some rare cassettes, he refined his take on ambient music, gradually evolving from something quite dark to albums that incorporated a wider spectrum of sounds. Although I enjoy all four Tear Ceremony albums, Film Decay is the one that speaks to me the most.
In terms of the sound of the album, there are high and low drones, soft, looped keyboard melodies, crackling noises, stuttering noises, low-frequency melodies, chiming tones, industrial clanks, some pretty, minimal piano and so on throughout the album. These are not ingredients that no one else had used up to this point, but Gautreau manages to generate and combine them in a unique fashion. Each track is a miniature composition with subtle details that emerge on repeat listens.
I’ve been listening to this album for well over a decade now and it continues to amaze me. Film Decay is one of my favorite ambient albums of the 90s and is highly recommended if you’ve not heard it.
N.B. Gautreau has a newer ambient project called Tapes and Topographies that is well worth checking out.