In a way, ambient music is often the process of taking the sound tapestries that exist everywhere and interpreting them into music. Both the natural crackles and chatter of a rainforest and the grinding cacophony of a city. The artist is not recreating these scenes verbatim but rather processing the relationships of tone, timbre, and rhythm into musical pieces. At the heart of these soundscapes is a mantra, a heartbeat of the life of the earth.

The idyllic Vancouver is a city uniquely poised to inspire this kind of breathing symphony. A bustling city a stone's throw from lush forest parks and sandy beaches, and surrounded by majestic mountains and the endless sea. A quick walk through the city with your ears ready to receive will yield a treasure trove of inspiration. Psychill artist Marc-E is based in this city on the edge of many worlds. His compositions are not only inspired by the natural sounds around him but incorporate them as well. His latest record Catharsis is like a big deep breath of fresh Pacific Northwest air. A disconnect from the nattering of day-to-day bickerings and a connection to the ever swirling world around. Of the album, the artist writes: “Catharsis is very experimental, I used many creative and unique recording techniques. The vibe and feel of Catharsis is to release past traumas and find comfort in the moment, and move on with full confidence in life.”

The album is a welcome step out of time. A mental palate cleanser. We open with the intriguing shimmer of chimes and ringing of bells. Hand drum with a downtempo hip hop flare gets the head nodding. Inviting hanging chords are engulfed by swirling atmosphere. 'Acceptance' is the first step and it is your open door to the rest of the experience. 'Seed of Faith (Isolation Mix)' embraces Indian sonics with wailing strings and fluidic tablas playing into the mystical fog.

'Shadow Work' takes the focus off of the flashy bells and whistles and lets a beautiful languishing guitar line lead the way. One part Pink Floyd, one part Opeth, one part Underworld, this pause to reflect is a mid-album gem. Swarming insects, frogs, and birds are backed by an ominous stew on the ethereal centrepiece 'Dreamtime'. This ambitious track trembles with the apprehension of the Amazon at night. Unsure whether you're being stocked by a jaguar or a guerrilla soldier, or both. Trepidation turns to resolve and determination as the beat comes in to support you on your nocturnal trek. The album's waning moments provide comfort and relief. 'Ethereal Glade' and 'Surrendering to Now' are like a hug in a warm blanket. The closer 'Full Armour' prickles with gorgeous guitar work over a patient, hours-after-midnight half-time beat. Synth flourishes build to join the lead guitar in a searing crescendo before tucking us into bed for a well-earned rest.

Catharsis is a prime example of how the best ambient music makes you forget everything around you. It's indeed a meditation. Not in the hokey pan flutes and Tibetan singing bowls sense but rather with flowing composition that precludes you from your daily antagonizations. Beautiful organically minded, electronically supported music.

4.5 Stars