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Pjos - Atlas (self-released)

4 June 2024

Some music is all about defined structures and recognisable templates. Others, such as post-rock, sought to remove the conformity of such an approach without losing any of the impact of the genre in question, in that case, rock music. And then you get even more wayward music, which seems less about form and more about mood, less about structure and more about exploration. It is in this place that you find Brazillian-born, Poland-based ambient sonic surfer Pjos.

“Atlas,” only this artist’s second single, falls into the realm of ambient music, but that in itself is such a broad category that it is almost meaningless. So, let’s dig a little deeper.

Percussive beats seem to be the only thing that tie down a semblance of structure, beyond that, the music seems to play by its own rules. I’m sure Pjos knows exactly why every musical element is where it is, but from the outside, the song seems to merely ebb and flow, wash and wander about driven only by the sonic winds. And this ethereal sonic cloud appears to be woven from shimmering synths and digital delicacy, layered one on top of the other, tones and textures interlocking. The power and weight seemingly come from the slashed and resonant chords of an electric guitar, but one so affected and distorted that it blends into this electronic landscape perfectly.

The vocals are placed so low in the mix and are so washed out that they effectively become an instrument in their own right rather than a means of communication. This adds a wonderful air of mystique to this already beguiling piece.

Meditative and masterful, relaxing and understated, cinematic and seductive, “Atlas” is a brilliantly strange piece of music —and I mean that in the most positive sense.