Jan Amit - Around & Above (Black Hymn Records)

I was recently sent over a release from our good friends at Black Hymn Records, curated by Retral and Ash Mckean. It's a digital and cassette release from Moscow-based producer, Jan Amit.

Really, the album is typical of what I've come to expect from Black Hymn. Whilst everything might feel similar, the taste is always different. With a strong focus on the ambient, they stand out from the more mediocre by always picking artists that know how to make organic music that works as much out of the subtleties in the background as it does from the pads and strings.

Straight away, you'll notice this music is dreamy. For fans of Stumbleine or Asa's pre-grime works, this is perfect. It's the sort of music that will fit whichever situation you're in. Driving on some washed-out summer evening? Perfect. Sitting inside, watching the rain at the window? Perfect. Winter night and the snow is settling? Perfect. It's rare a release will fit so easily into such starkly different environments, so big up Jan Amit.

Whilst mostly ambient, there are moments of beat-inspiration. After being lulled in by the opening, Spread Your Wings suddenly goes all autonomic to cast a darker shadow, and is followed up further on the release some Portishead-esque trip hop vibes. However, the real strength is in the beatless tracks. Keeping ambient tracks constantly flickering, and most importantly, interesting isn't easy (trust me, I know), but with the right samples, sound effects, occasional piano and guitar, real of computerised, Jan Amit holds your attention easily for over the hour.

You can grab the release digitally or on limited edition cassette over at the Black Hymn Records Bandcamp.