Less than a year after releasing his stunningly impressive album, ‘Abendromen’, Tom Eaton returns with a follow-up titled ‘Indesterren’. Comprised of twelve supremely gorgeous compositions spanning seventy-eight minutes, the album was composed, produced and engineered by Tom, who is also co-producer and engineer for Imaginary Road studios (owned by Windham Hill founder, Will Ackerman). A gifted multi-instrumentalist, Tom plays piano, analog and digital synthesizers, electric guitars, fretted and fretless basses, accordion, omnichord, and acoustic and electric percussion on the album. Listeners will also note the cosmic theme present throughout, as conveyed on several song titles, such as “Waltz of the Seven Sisters” (an allusion to the Pleiades constellation), “Spica” and “Argo Navis”.
“The Red Blazer” immediately imparts a sense of melancholy, as hazy chords underscore ambient piano notes and subtle electric guitar, not unlike that of Tim Story or Patrick O’Hearn. A warmly enveloping albeit forlorn atmosphere permeates this piece, as well as much of the album, often conveying a nostalgic sense of longing and regret. Following next is the beautiful “Vervagen”, where the aforementioned elements are additionally joined by hushed ethereal vocals and echoing percussion. Tom skillfully weaves many intricate details and subtle nuances here and throughout this recording, which are both perfectly understated and wholly essential in relaying their intended effect. Concluding with softly chirping crickets, this piece perfectly captures the essence of being in a vast and open landscape while gazing upon the night sky. “Gravity” seems to emerge from a nocturnal fog, with its misty tones, minimal piano and interspersed electric guitar. A faint submarine-like sound is employed here and on other parts of the album, further lending to its alluringly haunting atmosphere of reflection and solitude. “Midnight Clouds and the Great Bear” is an especially captivating composition characterized by balmy textures, dreamy guitar and a splash of piano amidst a subtle chill rhythm. Once again we’re treated to just how masterfully Tom is able to convey such profound depth of emotion by employing many subtleties and hidden complexities in his music, as opposed to taking a more obvious and grandiose approach. One song that absolutely took my breath away is “Venus”, which is named for the morning and evening star, as well as the ancient Roman goddess of love. A spellbindingly seductive piece, it features flugelhorn courtesy of Jeff Oster, along with all of the now familiar musical elements and more. Guided by a sensual chill type of rhythm, a Mediterranean mood takes hold with a melody that feels almost gypsy-like, culminating in what is not only my favorite song on the album, but one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve heard all year. It’s not until the final piece, titled “The Little Lion”, that we finally seem to catch the first glimpse of an early dawn. Dreamily ethereal and floating throughout, with sparse piano notes drifting in and out of suspended chords and atmospheric loops, it seems to convey an emotional release, or letting go of sorts.
Essentially ambient with subtle chill rhythms in parts, ‘Indesterren’ is a profoundly gorgeous album that is surely destined to become one of my favorites. The wistfully haunting melodies herein seem to fully express without directly revealing a closely guarded emotional secret, often alluding to nights spent in solitude and pondering under the stars. As with ‘Abendromen’, Tom Eaton has created yet another masterpiece that is every bit as moving, mysterious and possibly even more stunning than its predecessor!