Mayforest is the pseudonym of Christian Maiwald, an ambient musician that splits his time between Berlin, Germany and Szcecin, Poland. This is debut album, which is a self-published, self-titled release. According to Maiwald, the tracks on the album were sequenced as he recorded them. That makes sense, as I detect an obvious progression from dark to lighter moods as I make my way through the album.
Track one features a swelling guitar drone, midrange buzzing drones, varied bell-like tones, some glassy sounds, and some background clanks. Like a lot of ambient musicians, Maiwald uses volume shifts to build dynamics in his tracks.
The second track begins with an organ-like drone and a melancholy melody, then goes into some high, sparkling sounds, until richer, deeper drones come into the picture. There is a slight gothic tone to this track, not unlike you would find on dark ambient releases during the 90s. Later in the track, a pulsing beat comes in with some rain-like sounds far in the background along with some choral voices that are woven in.
The next track is more organic, with oceanic sounds, some field recordings, a bee-like pulse, and high-buzzing tones. Volume shifts are used again to make melody rise and fall. At one point that is a sense of spaciousness and silence in the track that is very effective.
The fourth track begins with some guitar ambient swells again, this time combined with field recordings and static in the background. More swells as the track progresses and some choral voices reappear. I should note that I’m typically not a fan of this element in ambient music, but here it’s done tastefully.
The fifth track is a marked departure from the previous tracks. There is a machine pulse which turns into a repetitive loop with some metallic clanks and a bright, sparkling melody that floats above. Some faint voices are woven into the background as their own loop until some deep bass notes come in, which close out the track.
Track six begins with a pretty, percussive melody and layering of looped elements. There are some subtle, high, glitching and buzzing melodies with some deep tones underneath. I like this this track quite a bit.
The final track opens with a twinkling bell loop and some gentle ringing, xylophone-esque sounds that evolve into a deep bass melody. Some watery sounds come in and there is an accordion-esque drone sound.
Overall, I’m impressed with this album. It holds up well to repeat listens and has a nice flow to it. I do get the sense that Maiwald is still developing his style here, so we should expect greater things from him going forward. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long for his next release.
Mayforest is available on CD and digital formats through Bandcamp.