Album Review

NTHNL – ‘Ontogenesis’ [Album Review]

With ‘Ontogenesis,’ like a prophet of old, NTHNL delivers a mystical album drenched in sublime complexity and soothing soundscapes.



NTHNL ‘Ontogenesis’ album artwork

On July 12, ambient, experimental electronic musician NTHNL, aka Jacob Rudin, will release his album Ontogenesis, the third in a series of albums called the Tranquility Studies.

NTHNL explains, “This music combines electronic binaural frequencies with performances on a variety of instruments to create soundscapes that are at once calming, poetic, and musical. The music uses a technique called brainwave entrainment, which uses certain frequencies to sympathetically vibrate the mind.”

As he was beginning work on Ontogenesis, NTHNL connected with friend, fellow musician, and yoga instructor Leslie Graves. He and Graves decided to take it a step further with binaural beats and Solfeggio frequencies. They worked together to create an album whose main purpose was to be a meditation accompanying yoga work.

The way the pair worked was unique, with Graves giving keywords for each of the chakras, which Rubin would interpret through sound on the piano. The album runs in order of the chakras from top to bottom and even beyond, connecting with some of the extra-corporeal chakras.

Encompassing 11 tracks, entry points include “welcome procession,” opening on interweaving layers of complex sounds that shimmer and glide on ghostly, drifting tendrils. As the melody expands, it reveals glowing resonance and inspiring colors.

Delicately emerging, “straightening, dispersing” slowly blossoms into majestic, sonic fractals, each developing from the other, forming flotational textures akin to soaring on celestial currents.

NTHNL, photo courtesy of NTHNL

With its darker surfaces, “reaching, striving, praying” coasts forth on vibrating coloration. A personal favorite because of its low-slung, elegant piano tones, “processing, detoxifying” lingers on hovering surfaces, evoking a soft yet pleasing cathartic sensation.

synthesis, memory,” flows forth like warm honey and features a gorgeous, warbling flute and fluttering textures. The album closes with “return to the cloud, thank you,” a beautifully wrought tune of translucent, oscillating tones riding atop heavier, grounding, tonal underlays.

With Ontogenesis, like a prophet of old, NTHNL delivers a mystical album drenched in sublime complexity and soothing soundscapes.

Ontogenesis Track Listing:

1. welcome procession
2. straightening, dispersing
3. nourishing, holding
4. reaching, striving, praying
5. processing, detoxifying
6. assurance, rising
7. heart
8. aerating, billowing
9. transmitting, unraveling, communion
10. synthesis, memory
11. return to the cloud, thank you

Run Time: 39:29
Release Date: July 12, 2024
Record Label: Independent


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