Review: Huerta’s Nostalgic, Ambient Reflection Of America’s West-Coast In ‘Junipero’

Huerta | Junipero | Voyage Recordings

Release Date: 7 February, 2020

The most alluring aspect of ‘Junipero’ is the inherently organic feel to it – as if one were to sit atop a lush hillside, quietly reflecting upon the little beauties of our surroundings that we often pass by in our day to day hustle. Within the album lies an immersive aura of the natural world; airy, ambient swells – earthy, rhythmic percussion, blooming synths and sprawling soundscapes, droplets of rain and waves lapping at the shores.

American born, Berlin-based Steve Huerta is known for his ability to craft intricate, atmospheric electronic worlds – and with ‘Junipero’ as his debut on Voyage Recordings, the artist manages to do just that; with a sound inspired by the idyllic natural beauties of his home state of California.

The starry, twinkling textures of ‘Blanket Dub‘s opening sing echoic within their crystalline chamber; a pastoral, visceral ambience bathing the soundscape in a minimalist ocean – the icy calm of the electronic shimmers holding close an idyllic, natural feel. A silken melodious atmosphere surrounds the gentle composition; an introspective, thoughtful minimalism cradling a mediative immersion – as if watching the ocean from afar, tenderly contemplating all one sees before them, emotional and sentimental. Rippling synths flicker as sunbeams glistening atop the waters edge, the track blushing with such effortless calm within its tender, honeyed textures – a compassionate nostalgia slumbers within the soundscape.

Subtle elements of drum & bass dot the ethereal aura of ‘All Wild Things Are Shy‘ – a graceful swirl into focused, rhythmic percussion and oscillating synths deeply inhale an aura refreshing and bright; a sunlit affection sprawls across electronics that maintain an earthly feel, sprouts of luscious natural timbres transposed into a digital realm. Imagery of a bountiful forest spring to mind, teeming with life luscious and untouched; rich with colour and ripe with the pull for exploration. Mahogany textures, fluid echoic showers and a low, heavy bass segues step-by-step – as if, one foot in front of the other – hiking through winding rocky paths, a focused direction while still making sure to take the time – to breathe – and appreciate the lavish atmosphere.

Waxwing Air‘ manages to maintain the beguiling, organic serenity present throughout the album – while still shifting into a digital space. The sunny electronics glisten with a very particular ambience; a soundscape one could easily find within an attentively constructed video game – reminiscent of the pixelated world of independent games such as Fez, where the titular character navigates a rich, vivid and artistic realm – that albeit fantastical, still captures the enchanting familiarity of the natural world around us. Playful with its use of texture, ‘Waxwing Air‘ embraces saccharine, curious synths – the atmosphere bewitching as it traverses a colourful, thoughtful world.

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Rating: 8 / 10

Feature Image: Huerta via