Robert Farrugia – Slow Morning

Slow Morning is the eighth full-length solo album from Robert Farrugia, an artist from Malta working with ambient, experimental, and neoclassical music.

On the surface this is a pretty, drifting ambient album with some sparse touches of piano melody to tie things together, but there is more going on here than just that. There is a good amount of variety across the album and it becomes more abstract and experimental in the second half.

The album was put together with a small range of instruments: a virtual analog synth, a hardware synth with customized patches, upright piano, and cello samples contributed by his brother, Matthew Farrugia. Before I knew the album contained processed cello samples, I mistook those sounds for processed guitar. The feel of these sounds is a bit richer than what I might hear from a lot of guitar based ambient but the way the samples are used to create supporting droning textures is similar. If you like this sort of thing, there are elements in the sonic palette here that would appeal to you.

One of favorite tracks on the album is the title track, a piece with what sounds like field recordings of rain or washes of static accompanied by strong, melancholic piano melodies. Although this track is a bit sad sounding, it doesn’t wallow in it and gives off a feeling of peacefulness and serenity. Track six, Fragments, also stands out for me with its ominous mood, metallic buzzing drones, and feedback sounds. The piano as used here functions more in terms of sonic painting compared to the title track. Note that these are just some highlights I’ve picked out. The album features no weak moments whatsoever and holds up to repeat listens.

Although this is my first experience with Robert’s music, I’m impressed and look forward to checking out some of his back catalog as well as new releases in the future. This is a well-done release I can easily recommend.

Slow Morning is available on CD and digital formats from Archives Dub Music.

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