There’s perhaps nothing worse in music than when snobbery infects the better part of an entire scene or genre, and as unfortunate as it is for me to admit personally, this is certainly true of the modern ambient style. Working against this narrative with a humble approach to hybridity that I wasn’t anticipating I’d find so early on in 2021 is none other than Bloom’s Taxonomy, whose new album Foley Age is the very antithesis of jaded self-righteousness as it’s so commonly found among this genre of music. Bloom’s Taxonomy hasn’t any time for the trite and trivial in his experimental look into soul and self in the title track, “Tumbleweed Tornado” or “Imaginary Angles;” he’s too focused to allow such nonsense into the picture, and that’s evident from the start here.
These songs aren’t as surreal as they are cerebral, which despite being a bit of a departure from what some might have come to appreciate about the Bitter Lake EP works a lot better for the format with which Bloom’s Taxonomy is employing in this latest release. Outside of “Earthrise,” shades of heady jazz and post-punk melancholies are everywhere we listen, transforming from casual beats into overstimulating tones in the likes of “Cosmic Village of the Jaguars” almost guaranteed to get a big reaction out of anyone within earshot. It’s clearly not something that was conceived with the average listener in mind, but this isn’t to say it lacks any level of crossover appeal at all. Actually, I think this is an LP longtime ambient audiences and novice ears might appreciate with equal enthusiasm.
The bottom-end in “Elephant Park” and “Mount Bromo” seemed to be a bit too boisterous in initial examinations of Foley Age, but after some additional time to revisit the material I can’t say that Bloom’s Taxonomy wasn’t extraordinarily careful about avoiding the pitfalls of invasive melodicism in both of these songs. It’s a similar story with “Locked In” and “Obrigada Nada” but in more conservative measure; the reality is that nothing here is really all that excessive within the context of when this record is hitting record stores as well as with regards to the millennial ambient aesthetic in general. It takes a few listens to really get into the guts of this piece, but I’d be lying if I said each spin isn’t more exciting than the last.
Foley Age is well-balanced and wholly provocative in every way I would wish for it to be as a veteran critic of experimental music, and I would even go so far as to say that it’s an unassuming but highly credible nominee for Album of the Year – at least in the ambient genre. Bloom’s Taxonomy hinted at an ambitiousness that went well about the paygrade of his rivals in Bitter Lake, but what he does here is more incendiary than anything I was thinking I’d experience when first listening to the LP just this week. A startlingly good addition to the soundtrack of 2021, Foley Age is five-star ambient music for certain.