march > september
this is it, you are lost
the evasion of like
i remember it differently
must every path cross?
this is it, you are here
XLR8R, July 2006
"Near the Parenthesis' taste for deep, layered musical compositions combined with his musical background make for soundscapes that drift between ethereal and melancholy so skillfully it's impossible to track how this artist moves from one musical point to the next, and such subtlety is likely to make him go far as a producer."
Textura, July 2006
"Go Out and See works a deeply emotive dimension into its melodic material that elevates it far above the merely pretty. Near the Parenthesis assembles its material from by-now familiar elements—field elements of voices and environmental noise, gently chattering beats, billowing electronics, glistening organ tones, subtle layers of glitch—but weaves them into affecting, often tender quasi-ambient compositions drenched with feeling. Cases in point, quietly euphoric pieces like “The Evasion of Like” and “I Remember It Differently” unfurl with a lush effervescence and melancholic wistfulness that's truly lovely. Only the fourth release issued on the Toronto-based MMBP (Music Made By People) label, Go Out and See impresses as a remarkably accomplished and fully-realized work."
The Wire, July 2006
"One day soon it may be necessary to carry out a study into why so many producers hide themselves away behind some impassive, self-effacing tag. One brief glance at the sleeve is enough to reveal that the glorious colours and broad vistas on Go Out And See are the work of Near the Parenthesis, while a minute or two online will inform you that he lives in San Francisco. Maybe neither revelation gets us closer to understanding why this particular individual has such a flair for mixing field recordings of people's apparently random chatter into his subdued and dreamy compositions. But what the hey...it's a start."
into the green
songs and movies about los angeles
the remainder of what's left
author of the century
it's not even midnight
the language explosion
the world is inside you now
a little damaged
sitting in a room (reconstructed by down review)
Evil Sponge, July 2008
"I was fortunate in discovering his album Go Out And See (released 2006 on the MMBP label), a record of luxuriant bass and sophisticated beats. For his follow-up, Arndt has switched to the n5MD label and this is a logical move for the San Francisco-based musician. The music of Near the Parenthesis is too reflective, too cerebral to be confined to the rank and file of downtempo. Of Soft Construction is relaxed and chilled, certainly, but it has facets that reach out beyond ambience. Though outwardly tranquil, these compositions can be contrary and deceptive. Built upon cycles of repetition and gently, evolving layers, Of Soft Construction generates the sort of "calm" that actually suggests strength. The effect is like time-lapse photography for the ears. My favourite piece has to be the sensational Trailing. By sensational I mean quite literally evoking sensations and feelings. This track twinkles like a night drive in a foreign city. Conjure Michael Mann's Miami or Sofia Coppola's Tokyo - wherever. It doesn't matter. In this context, the city is merely a reflection of the self. Our foreign city therefore represents the unexplored side of one's own persona. Lights and colours flash by. Our minds are intoxicated with possibilities and discoveries. All these new experiences serve to make sense of our own lives and purposes. If only my own were as elegant and beautiful as Of Soft Construction."
The Skinny, May 2008
"Shoegazer electronica can be hard to grab a handle on – it’s soothing, thought provoking, sometimes exciting, often beautiful – but it also has a very strong tendency towards inoffensive mildness, and Near The Parenthesis is no exception. Of Soft Construction exhibits all of the above qualities by the bucketload. The melodies are gorgeous when they drift in and out, the drum programming is superb - albeit buried deep in the mix - and the instrumentation is stirring."
Cyclic Defrost, March 2008
"Near the Parenthesis attracted considerable critical acclaim for the 2006 debut album 'Go Out And See' on Canadian imprint Music Made By People, which focused on purely instrumental compositions equally evocative of both downbeat IDM and shoegazer slow-core rock. Given the delicate and deeply emotional nature of Arndt’s music as Near The Parenthesis, it’s certainly no surprise to see him smoothly slotting in amongst the n5MD label’s established gentle aesthetic for this second album, Of Soft Construction. Opening track ‘It’s Not Even Midnight’ provides a good taste of the sorts of delicate and melancholic moods that predominate throughout the eleven tracks collected here, with its glacially wistful opening synth pads giving way to a slow, blurred-out wash of programmed drums and subtly-placed, ebbing guitar elements; indeed, so smooth is the fusion of instrumental and synthetic elements that it calls to mind the post-rock sphere as equally as anything tagged ‘IDM.’ ‘Mare Nostrum’ meanwhile sees elegantly stark piano notes take centre stage as flickering programmed rhythms trace a path over the reverb-drenched harmonics, with the addition of feathery guitar textures and reversed / looped samples contributing a vaguely psychedelic vibe that’s nicely capped off by the sampled background chatter that flits through the mix.
Side-Line, January 2008
"Following 2006’s Go Out and See on Music Made by People, Of Soft Construction sees Near the Parenthesis' cascading melodies, flowing synth waves and intricate beat programming interweave and mix to form gentle swathes of sound with just a touch of fuzzy distortion. In some ways, “Of Soft Construction” could be a glimpse into the intimate world of the musician at work; almost as though observing a synth being played in a quiet studio while an electronic music soundtrack plays in the background. The tracks focus largely on the warm stream of ambience, delicate sparkling sounds, obscured snippets of conversation, gentle unobtrusive rhythms and emotive keys. The other aspect of these tracks arises from the experimental electronics that discretely accompany the mellower aspects; this side of NTP's music is crisp, precise and slightly metallic. Tracks such as “Mare Nostrum” and “Open Sources” are almost an insight into NTP's mindset as he plays the notes, perhaps reflecting on what was or could have been."
Goon (Germany), January 2008
"Near The Parenthesis kann – denn Electronica ist nicht selten eine Musik der Abschweifungen im geradlinigen Ablauf des Tages; mit all seiner Synthesizer-Epik, den in Spiralen verlängerten Gitarrenanklängen und sanften Beatameisen macht sie, insbesondere in der Nähe zum IDM, oftmals den Eindruck, nicht so recht zu wissen, wo sie hin will; scheint eingeschoben und in der Luft zu baumeln; wie ein Tagträumen, eine Parenthese innerhalb des Wachzustands; in gewisser Weise ist es autonome Musik, die allein sich selbst genügt und doch zugleich durch einen Fuß im Kitsch selbst eine Funktion besitzt, die direkt auf den Menschen wirkt und ihn umgarnt; das kann regelmäßig etwas bieder und einfältig klingen, kann damit aber auch eine schlichte Lieblichkeit besitzen, die einen in den Arm nimmt und nicht nur Wärme verspricht, sondern spendet – als eine von Sonnenstrahlen durchtränkte Pause im Frühlingssturm betrachtet werden."
EtherREAL (France), January 2008
"Après un premier album sur Music Made By People, Near the Parenthesis se trouve signé par n5MD, maison plus ou moins spécialisée dans ce «post-rock électronisé» qu’affectionne le musicien de San Fransisco. De fait, dès les deux morceaux d’ouverture (It’s not even midnight et Mare Nostrum), on retrouve une batterie électronique, de lumineuses lignes de guitare, des composants synthétiques scintillants et quelques bribes de samples vocaux. Pour autant, Tim Arndt ne se cantonne pas à ce genre, certes brillant, mais un rien facile par moments ; en effet, l’États-unien peut aussi s’aventurer vers des terrains dépourvus de ces parties mélodiques entraînantes de guitare et plus orientés vers une ambient cajoleuse (The Language Explosion). Passant d’un registre à l’autre, mais aussi capable d’aller vers une electronica plus traditionnelle (Open Sources), Near the Parenthesis nous livre alors un album très agréable."
Textura, December 2007
"Near the Parenthesis' made a strong impression with the mid-2006 debut Go Out and See (Music Made By People) and now extends the album's luminescent character to the equally solid Of Soft Construction. The collection's ‘emotional electronic' style is quintessential n5MD: deeply-layered material teeming with delicate piano melodies, glistening electronic atmospheres, quietly propellant beats, and occasional voice and radio station samples. Eleven finely-wrought and lustrous transporting lullabies are the result, with nine in the five-minute range and a couple of lovely placid interludes breaking the flow. A veritable wonderland of clicking beats and warm tones resounds amidst ripples of electronic gleam in “Trailing” while “Sitting in a Room” rather anomalously adds bass-heavy funkiness to the sparkling flow. Throughout this sophomore Near The Parenthesis effort, Arndt assembles mobile masses that, interestingly, are simultaneously heavy, in their density, and airy, in their brightness. "
Geiger (Denmark), January 2008
"Det amerikanske electronica-pladeselskab, n5MD, fortsætter deres stime af perfekt konstruerede albums, der appellerer til den kræsne, romantiske æstetiker. Seneste skud på stammen er Near The Parenthesis og Hologram. Begge bands passer optimalt til sloganet: "emotional experiments in music", der er blevet n5MDs varemærke. Bag navnet Near The Parenthesis gemmer sig Timothy Arndt. Som de fleste kunstnere, der er signet til n5MD, så foretrækker Arndt at "male" på et bredt kanvas. Albummets titel: Of Soft Construction er en fin indikator for æstetikken: Der er tale om silkebløde, lydlige konstruktioner, der smyger sig varmt om lytteren. n5MDs specialitet er at forene det organiske med det elektroniske. Der er ikke tale om nedbarberet click 'n' cut, men derimod om langsomt udfoldede musikalske strukturer, der indarbejder såvel lyde af traditionelle "rockinstrumenter" som guitar, keyboards, bas og trommer og sindrigt konstruerede beats. Of Soft Construction består af elleve numre, der alle rammer en blå stemning. På coverets inderside kan man læse en lille sentens, der fanger stemningen meget godt: "you're optimistic, where does that leave me?""
Boomkat, December 2007
"The Near The Parenthesis project is now on its second full-length album, and it's another permutation of n5MD's very modern take on instrumental electronica. There are certain signposts on the record that point towards a creative kinship with artists like Ulrich Schnauss or Manual - there's certainly a similar preoccupation with expansive melodic melodrama and finely crafted electronic beat-making. The glistening electronic chimes of 'It's Not Even Midnight' combine with lost voices in a crowd and underplayed, naturalistic drum programming to make for a compelling opener. Next comes 'Mare Nostrum', featuring Deaf Center-like cinematics and glitchy micro-beats, another prevalent sonic formula on the album, but for the sake of texture there are plenty of rhythm-breaking pieces that venture into slightly more awkward, ambient terrain. The deep digital gloss of 'Litnum' and For, From' makes for material that has more in common with 12k than IDM, resulting in some interesting, if not entirely original soundscaping. Once again, n5MD are doing a great job of keeping the electronica dream alive, and Near The Parenthesis offers another worthwhile, contemporary take on the genre."
AngryApe, November 2007
"San Francisco's Near The Parenthesis offers up a real lesson in restraint on his sophomore release Of Soft Construction, blending a sound that floats gently somewhere between Boards of Canada's nostalgic textures and Bola's euphoric, melodic style. His gentle, undulating brand of electronica is laden with over-lapping, celestial melodies that ebbs with discreet samples of radio station crackles, chilled chatter and distant playground sounds. With crisp production, complimented by cushioned synth pads and lightly distorted samples, Of Soft Construction runs like a tranquil soundtrack for those who prefer to sidestep the hustle and bustle of everyday life."
a brief walk in the sea
the second nave
Ear Influxion, October 2008
"Many of the nine tracks found on L'Eixample ebb and flow with a ponderous grace, with an emphasis on an understated melancholy and lushness that complement its textures, arrangements and melodic sensibility. It is in this shimmering warmth that L'Eixample shakes away many of the immediate comparisons to artists like Arovane or Autechre; many of the more angular or mechanical sounds to be found in those artists' work are completely absent here, or at least dialed down considerably. There is more in common with Cliff Martinez's Solaris score than anything on City Centre Offices; Arndt flaunts a similar knack for repetition and cyclical patterns that are at alternate times hypnotic, moving or insistent. Because of this, the tracks heard on L'Eixample don't feel overly distinct to me but parts of a whole, and this is why it succeeds as an album. While sometimes that homogenous quality can undermine an album, here it strengthens it. There are still some truly gorgeous specific moments on here: the opening melodic phrases of "Guell" are equally gloomy and lovely, while the closing sequence of "A Brief Walk In The Sea" is triumphant in its elegance. The disembodied voices underneath "Empty Square" and "Departing Gate" might make you turn your head a bit just to make sure it's on the album and not somewhere else in the distance; the latter also is built around a nice piano arrangement that builds over its five minutes into a layered beauty. L'Eixample is a really nice piece of work that comes highly recommended for any fan of emotive, instrumental electronic music. For this listener, it's helped revive an interest in IDM and electronic listening music, proving that you don't need to reinvent the wheel to create something inspiring and moving."
The Milk Factory, October 2008
"With L’Eixample, Amdt returns to the gentle atmospheric postcards that defined his previous outputs and expands on the already rich soundscapes and textures that served them. The nine tracks collected here seamlessly morph into one another and melodies effortlessly float above the minute formations that act as main backbone for each individual piece. Sounding like representations of crisp, cold and foggy winter mornings, where familiar settings are swallowed in a dense veil and become haunting shapes, Amdt’s compositions move slowly, revealing various facets of their individual scope with each new exposure. But, behind the dense textural curtain which covers the whole album, lush instrumentations and sequences can be heard. Distant voices, softened pianos or rounded electric guitars create unique spaces within the music and, while contributing greatly to the overall mood, also manage to radiate altogether much more vivid tones. On Cedra’s Plan for instance, the main piano melody which emerges from the shifting waters of the first half of the piece gives a much earthier feel to the latter part. SMDM is instantly more clearly defined, but yet again, it is the piano that contrasts with its resolutely vaporous backdrop. On Empty Square, piano and processed guitars create a mood reminiscent of the collaboration between former Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie and ambient composer Harold Budd, but then the track takes a turn for the barer and more desolate until just a distant voice remains, and on opening piece Modernisme, ethereal voices contribute to the overall haunting feel of the composition. Tim Amdt has created with his third album an exquisite atmospheric soundtrack. The refined soundscapes and moods serve his melodies beautifully, and contribute to create an extremely consistent and cinematic collection."
Textura, October 2008
"No, L'Eixample isn't a misspelling of the French “l'example”; the album title refers to the modernist architecture Tim Arndt (aka Near The Parenthesis) encountered in the L'Eixample district during the Barcelona , Spain travels that inspired his follow-up to 2007's Of Soft Construction. Apparently, “L'Eixample” also means “extension” in Catalunyan, a meaning that's naturally applicable to the further refinement and development one hears in Arndt's Near The Parenthesis style. The San Francisco-based producer's music is a galaxy removed from abrasive, noise-based variants of the form, and the new album at times feels like a master class in “warm” electronica, with the opener “Modernisme” no finer example of just how alluring the genre can be when the right producer's involved. On subtly rapturous settings like “Cerda's Plan” and “A Brief Walk In The Sea,” piano, Rhodes , buried voices, and streaming guitars merge indissolubly with electronics to form multi-layered masses whose ebb and flow seductively draws the listener into a beatific sonic realm. Just because Arndt favours the genre's gentler side doesn't mean the music's mental pabulum either. Yes, it's pretty but it also exemplifies a sophistication in construction and design that rewards close listening. Though the gossamer web he spins in “Paral.lel” impresses as particularly lovely, throughout the album Arndt weaves together a remarkable sum-total of sounds—consider the densely arranged “Guell” and “Smdm” as prime examples—without ever lapsing into excess. The fifty-three-minute collection is about as lovely as “emotive electronica” gets."
Sonic Immersion, September 2008
"Near the Parenthesis is the musical (dis)guise of San Francisco-based musician Tim Arndt, of which "L’Eixample" is his third full length release. Arndt himself describes his compositional style as "melancholic aesthetic". The album, which was inspired by the overall impact and environment of the city of Barcelona, contains nine ambient tracks featuring textural, atmospheric music, which all reflect a melancholic, overall calming, subdued state. Gentle beats, bits of glitch, and rhythmic components accompany distorted guitar sounds, intimate, mellow synth and vocal pads with sparse melodic lines, while varied field recordings (made during Arndt's travels) lend its own distinct pastel colours. Occasionally vaporizing an undeniable sense of religious meaning (e.g. "Smdm"), these well executed and produced ambient electronics with reflective undercurrents radiates a peculiar sense of magic and longing for not often found. Think of the feel the music Ulrich Schnauss provokes with a twist."
EtherREAL (France), September 2008
Neuf mois après le très bon Of Soft Construction, Near the Parenthesis est déjà de retour, toujours sur n5MD, avec L’Eixample, album inspiré par de fréquents voyages du Californien à Barcelone (d’où son titre, clin d’œil à l’un des quartiers de la capitale catalane). Alors qu’on fait parfois ici-même le reproche au label d’Oakland de démesurément privilégier les disques proposant un post-rock électronisé mêlant lignes entraînantes de guitare et composantes synthétiques, on sera gré à Tim Arndt d’opter, sur son troisième long-format, pour une musique quasi-exclusivement électronique. En effet, les parties mélodiques entraînantes ou les batteries programmées ne sont presque pas de mise (citons juste Cerda’s Plan et SMDM) sur un album qui favorise plutôt le développement d’une electronica calme et sereine, faite de textures jamais agressives. Au contraire, les rythmiques se font gracieuses (A Brief Walk in the Sea), les mélodies joliment dessinées (The Second Nave, Paral.lel, Departing Gaze) et les notes de clavier mélancoliquement détachées (Empty Square). Savamment intégrées, quelques bribes de discours, émissions radio ou vieux films parcourent également avec réussite certains titres de Near the Parenthesis."
Now Like Photographs, September 2008
"Tim Arndt's smooth and luscious bedroom electronica has such a lived in sound that it gives the music a profound sense of place. Fittingly, the San Franciscan crafted these tunes in response to his recent travels through the majestic and romantic city of Barcelona. Even the glitches of static and cloudy globules of piled high keyboards sound like the city: a glorious blend of rested and passionate. Whether the songs lean toward spacey with effects or barebones with just a piano and field recordings, NTP is certainly welcome on nowlikephotographs."
Geiger (Denmark), September 2008
"En anden musikalsk alvorsmand er Tim Arndt, der bruger kunstnernavnet Near The Parenthesis. Jeg har tidligere været begejstret for albummet Of Soft Construction, der i sit tonesprog ramte en efterårsagtig melankoli. L'Eixample tager sit navn efter et distrikt i Barcelona, hvor den modernistiske arkitektur er særligt fremherskende. Første nummer på pladen hedder da også ganske passende "Modernisme". Man behøver dog ikke at frygte, at Arndt er blevet et følelseskoldt tankemenneske, der hellere vil lave abstrakte bygninger af lyd end appellere til de menneskelige følelser. Faktisk viser albummet, at man godt kan kombinere en streng, musikarkitektonisk formsans med en rig emotionalitet."
Resident Advisor, August 2008
"Near the Parenthesis' third full-length has dragged me deep into the conundrum of interpretation. You see, much of this review is unavoidably influenced by title conditioning—the infiltration of the subconscious by the record's track names. Prior knowledge of "A Brief Walk in the Sea," for example, gestured towards a rather literal interpretation. Subsequently, the softly repeating chimes which initially drew the ear were like smears of refracted light, highlighting the surface of the waves. As the understated beats emerged from the mix, it felt as though they represented a swell of current, pulling the observer's gaze below the surface; down to a swirling, cycling mass of looping glitches and clicks manifesting as the surrounding water. As with Mountains or Epic45, whose minimalist-shoegaze approach to ambient electronica shares much in common with Near the Parenthesis, there's refreshingly little to latch on to besides the music itself. No ostentatious frontman, no lyrics, no narrative other than the self-imposed and few other factors to colour the process besides artwork and a tracklist. These, though, are enough to have an influence. And it led me to wonder, rather obsessively as it turns out, what effect a totally "clean" listen would have on an individual. When hearing the fluctuating, low-pitched tones that open "Cerda's Plan," would they too see an elongating corridor; a nervous, seated man lightly drumming his fingers as the same tones shorten and diverge into insistent patterns; muffled voices from behind a nearby door, crackling and surging into washes of distortion as their discussions reach a volatile stage? As L'Eixample is partially driven and inspired by the architectural history of Barcelona, it should be no surprise that constructed spaces arise in the imagination. But such information also has an effect. It may be Tim Arndt's intention to use "Guell" as an expression of the remarkable hues, textures and curves of Gaudi's famous park through shimmering mosaics of mechanical trills and ever-prominent piano melody. Yet would this connection have been made without guidance? To what extent does it even matter? Background detail and textual signifiers can bring a deeper, satisfying understanding of creative intent, but at the same time they risk denying the listener the unique, potentially richer, experience of a stimulus-free hearing. To that end, this review itself is a problem. Sorry about that. My suggestion is this: acquire the album, remove it from all the packaging and set it aside. Forget everything you just read. Then listen afresh to an ambient triumph."
de-bug (Germany), August 2008
"Das nenne ich ein perfektes Album. Tim Arndt aus San Francisco ist so verliebt in den großen Pop zwischen den kleinen Tönen, dass man wie gebannt zuhört. Mit verbundenen Augen rückwärts watet er durch oldschoolige Elektronika-Anleihen, geflüsterte Versprechungen und angedeutete Weite, in der gleich ein ganzes Dutzend Sonnen auf- und untergehen. Mit glockiger Euphorie und zirpenden Explosionen warmer Mikrowellen-Strahlen baut er auf seiner neuen Platte ein Haus, in dem nur Gutes geschieht. Kaum in Worte zu fassen und unsere verqueren Gedanken schamlos entblößend. Wie gesagt: Das nenne ich ein perfektes Album."
Cyclic Defrost, August 2008
"Unlike several electronic artists who happen to be blessed with prolificacy, Tim Arndt continually delivers incredibly polished and lush material on his instrumental releases as Near The Parenthesis. The majority of his previous work has been met with extensive critical acclaim and for good reason – it’s delicate, instrumental electronica interspersed with an incisive and thought-provoking approach that is as easy to listen to in the background as in the foreground. L’Eixample is no different to his previous work in this respect. It’s self-assured and confident, without being brash. Taking inspiration from his travels through Barcelona and the modernist architecture around the L’Eixample district, the album is distinctly grounded by these experiences but never restrained by them. Echoes of Seekae are littered throughout, and Ulrich Schnauss also gets a look in with the dreamy atmospherics and shoegaze remnants that make up a fair amount of the album. However, Arndt has a voice all his own as he marries synthetic elements with acoustic instrumentation. He has such a way with melody that the two are never really distinguished as separate entities, which is a stunning achievement. The emotional connection to the music is undeniable, particularly on tracks such as ‘A Brief Walk In The Sea’ which relies on a tacit collection of scratchings, squeaks and synths to conjure up the images that the title suggests. The intermittent scuttle of ‘Modernisme’ lapses into an effortless, languid melody while the divine moments on ‘Cerda’s Plan’ with piano and drum machine matched beat for beat provide lovely jump-out moments that Arndt may explore on future releases. L’Eixample is a release that will slip under the radar for many, but for those in the know it will sure to be one of the highlights of Arndt’s back catalogue, and a strong contender for one of the loveliest releases of 2008."
anything is everything
Cyclic Defrost, September 2009
"From Here, For Anyone brings together Medard Fischer and Tim Arndt and though neither have met nor spoken, they collaborate here seamlessly. Distance and impersonal connection in music construction are becoming more common and Hidden Shoal Recordings has previously ventured into this form before with City of Satellites. In the early 1990s there was a tendency to describe electronic music as “faceless”, however the warmth and heartfelt content on this recording dissolves any such critique into a strange expectation: for faces, movement and motion. This four track EP opens with variations of melodic chords soaking the upper register, and combines pristine drum and synth programming. It is quite obvious that the form is predominantly electronic, yet it has all the hallmarks of post-rock sensibility and sonic attunement. ‘Archive’ clothes itself in manipulated crowd samples before launching into a layered drum, synth and bass combination. ‘Always enough’ weaves bright tones, dub sensibility and chopped up samples in highly wrought simplicity. ‘All In’ closes the album, playing with an almost anthemic extended chord, a hybrid drum beat and chirping bright synth which builds to dominate before dissolving quickly. It is a sharp finish, but the ride is quite exhilarating."
etherREAL, October 2009
"Mêmes labels (Music Made By People puis n5MD), même appétence pour le post-rock electronisé, et déjà une première collaboration sur un titre de l’album Of Soft Construction de Near The Parenthesis : Tim Arndt (Near The Parenthesis, donc) et Medrad Fisher (Arc Lab) se devaient de transformer l’essai. C’est sous le nom de Down Review et sur Hidden Shoal Recordings (label australien habitué du post-rock) que le duo trouve le terrain idoine pour proposer son premier EP. Soit quatre titres croisant les veines que les deux États-uniens développent par ailleurs en solo : de belles lignes mélodiques aériennes comme on en trouve chez Near The Parenthesis (Anything Is Everything) et des composantes plus électroniques (rythmiques, batterie programmée, éléments plus rêches) qu’on peut croiser sur les disques d’Arc Lab. Mais au-delà de cette adjonction de talents, on remarque assez rapidement que Down Review fait sens comme duo véritable, Tim Arndt et Medrad Fisher mêlant sans difficultés leurs talents respectifs ; Always Enough en témoigne ainsi en offrant mélodies au synthé et précision de l’électronique. Quatre titres au programme de cet EP, et quatre réussites, suffisamment homogènes pour donner corps à un propos et suffisamment différentes les unes des autres pour montrer l’étendue des possibilités de leurs auteurs, dont on espère évidemment qu’ils pourront mener de front leurs doubles carrières."
Adequacy, December 2009
"Down Review is the duo of electronic producers Medard Fischer (Arc Lab) and Tim Arndt (Near The Parenthesis), and From Here, For Anyone is their debut EP that resulted from the melding of their musical ideas exchanged over the Internet. The four tracks on the EP are a dense swirl of multi-textured electronic soundscapes that develop tunefully with mellow and warm melodies, crisp rhythm blips and playful clicks and pops. The duo mix and manipulate sounds into a soothing atmosphere of instrumental electronic songs that sound like a mash-up of the lush and ethereal, late-night dreamscapes of Ulrich Schnauss with the robotic techno of Kraftwerk’s Computer World. The impressionistic compositions don’t stray too far into the nebulous atmosphere but stay grounded with gently rolling drums, dynamic rhythms, periodic waves of buoyant keyboards and bright, celestial guitar leads. The multi-layered and swirling, synthetic sound waves don’t erupt with bursting melodies, but rather come to a slow boil with an airy and dreamy ambience with enough spirited glitch-pop noodling to keep things interesting."
lambent traces of the day
not here, not tonight
within an orbit
inertia (stay right here)
designing this building
pull yourself together
Now Like Photographs, April 2010
"The use of parenthetical clauses is often reserved for the conveyance of off-handed wisps of information – bits perhaps not absolutely integral to an idea or statement, but rather augmentative or pleasantly illuminative. Musical clauses can be parenthetical as well; textures ebb and flow from the sonic aether of one’s surroundings, as if gradually dusting off a hidden door with their timbre. An evening springtime stroll accompanied by Music for the Forest Concourse, the tertiary release from San Francisco’s Near the Parenthesis, can easily illustrate this concept. Several tracks, including “Good Evening,” “Pollarding Trees,” and “Within an Orbit” all display masterful interweaving of piano lines with warm, marmalade electronics and backgrounds of glazed ambience. “Inertia (Stay Right Here)” is self-explanatory in sound, as the track’s introduction gently persuades the listener to cease all movement, only to create inertia of its own later on. Contributing admirably to the catalog of n5MD Records, Near the Parenthesis has once again crafted an album of delicious and seductively thoughtful electronica (Music for the Forest Concourse)."
Paper Blog, April 2010
"Near The Parenthesis est le projet d'un californien, Tim Arndt, qui propose via le label de musiques électroniques ambiant n5MD sa quatrième réalisation. A l'écoute des morceaux de Music For The Forest Concourse on semble évoluer dans une forme de post-rock électronique assez attractive. Il est facile de décrocher assez vite sur ce genre de musique qui peuvent rapidement devenir plus assommantes qu'envoûtantes. Tim Arndt parvient par un travail rigoureux d'adjonctions sonores et de samples vocaux discrets à apporter cette petite touche qui fait que l'attention de l'auditeur reste en permanence éveillée. L'album précédent avait pour thématique un lieu : Barcelone . Celui-ci est inspiré par le temps de manière générale : un moment au crépuscule, un temps pris juste pour s'asseoir, un autre pour respirer. L'effet est assez magique : l'écoute de l'album est non seulement apaisante mais nous emmène aussi dans une sorte de dimension temporelle où les choses semblent évoluer de manière tellement plus tranquilles que dans notre quotidien. Agréable et véritablement bienfaisant."
De:Bug, May 2010
"Tim Arndt, der Mann hinter diesem schrulligen Projektnamen, hat bei mir im Herzen immer ein Zimmer frei. Dauerreservierung, ohne wenn und aber. Zwei Jahre hat er uns auf sein neues Album warten lassen, eigentlich frech. Und doch: Es sei ihm verziehen. Die neuen Tracks, die immer noch schwerstens Elektronika-verliebt sind, den Zeiten, als diese Art von Sound sehr en vogue war, deutlich in hörbar in Moll nachtrauern, kreisen so kongenial um das Piano als wiederkehrendes Moment, dass einfach alles passt. Minimale Arrangements sind Arndts Sache nicht, immer noch nicht, im Gegenteil. Bis unter die Decke schichtet er Melodie, Geräusch, Schlagwerk und Gefühl. Und dann plustert sich alles auf und sackt erschöpft in sich zusammen. Enorm bunt."
Exclaim!, May 2010
"Music For The Forest Concourse is a cushy, warm collection of subtly glitchy, expansive ambient. In his fourth release, Near Parenthesis (aka San Francisco, CA-based producer Tim Arndt) plies melodic keys through both calming and stirring atmospherics. The digitally enhanced organic vibes and emotive soundscape, replete with plenty of whirring synth-grain and glitch, envelope haunting piano sonnets as each track swells and crests with an oceanic quality. Reminiscent of label-mates AIM or Loess, Near Parenthesis is less cinematic than the former and less experimental than the later, but can still lay claim to a unique balance of intensity and fragility. Bolder than background music and not entirely beat-less, Music For The Forest Concourse frees the term "gripping ambient" from any oxymoronic notions."
The Milk Factory, June 2010
"Surfing the wave of lush cinematic electronic music, Near The Parenthesis’s Tim Arndt has, in the space of three records, refined a very personal style, which often relies heavily on sumptuous soundscapes and sweeping melodies. With his latest effort, Music For The Forest Concourse, released on n5MD, the San Francisco-based producer and musician has taken this to a very different level, as he adds elegant piano sections to this exquisitely layered compositions to greatly accentuate the evocative power of his music. While his work as Near The Parenthesis has always been primarily electronic-based, Arndt has, over the years, played guitar and piano in several bands, and has occasionally incorporated some of these in his solo work. Here though, he has deliberately taken the step of creating music that would largely rely on piano-led melodies, which, placed over delicate electronic backdrops, create, throughout the record, a particularly effective dreamy setting. Arndt’s sonic constructions are often extremely dense and complex affairs here, and it is difficult to identify exactly what is happening at any particular moment, yet these are rather expertly assembled to never overwhelm or intend to dazzle. Instead, they only serve to bind each piece together and create a universe unique to this record. Such enterprise can sometimes lead to overindulgence, and this album occasionally comes to it, but Arndt keeps it all under control by ensuring his compositions do not extend unnecessarily."
EtherREAL, July 2010
"Après l’approche plus calme et plutôt éloignée du post-rock électronisé de L’Eixample, Near The Parenthesis revient un peu à ce genre musical avec Music For The Forest Concourse, quatrième album de Tim Arndt. Pour autant, afin de ne pas tomber dans le risque d’une banalisation de sa musique (surtout sur un label comme n5MD dont les sorties opèrent majoritairement dans ce style), l’États-unien fait le choix de passer, comme base de ses morceaux, de la guitare au clavier. Ainsi, c’est cet instrument qui se trouve en première ligne, prompt à intervenir aux côtés des rythmiques programmées développant leur propos de manière déliée (Lambent Traces Of The Day). Pour accentuer ce sentiment, la tessiture des notes de clavier leur confère une rondeur ourlée, comme si elles étaient à peine effleurées afin d’être délicatement posées (Settle In, Not Here, Not Tonight). Même diapason quand des rythmiques plus riches sont rejointes par une double piste mélodique (Pollarding Trees, Diffused, Designing This Building). De même, les compositions de Tim Arndt se font naturellement plus mélancoliques lorsque les pulsations se font extrêmement discrètes (le début d’Inertia (Stay Right Here)). À côté de ces morceaux au clavier, il reste encore des exemples dans lesquels lignes de guitare et rythmiques gracieuses sont convoquées pour un dialogue savoureux (Good Evening) ou, bien que teintés de distorsion, hautement émouvants (Good Night). Mais ceux-ci ont été placés par le Californien en début et fin de disque, comme pour mieux servir à l’auditeur de porte d’entrée et de sortie autour de ce changement de medium dont le reste du disque témoigne avec beaucoup de qualité."
Headphone Commute, September 2010
"Gentle swells of piano, synth pads, and electronic percussion fill my room from the very first track of the latest album of Tim Arnd’s Near The Parenthesis project. On his fourth album for n5MD, titled Music For The Forest Concourse, Arndt explores meditative passages crafted specifically “for dusk, for open air, for sitting down, and for breathing in. It is music for staring upwards and listening attentively or casually”. Falling somewhere between modern classical, emotional electronica, and conscious sky gazing, the music of this San Francisco based producer evokes an up-lifting feeling in each near-five-minute-long track. Perfect for afternoon walks, open window car rides through the country, and for lazy Sunday morning coffee sips. It is especially nice to hear Arndt’s very personal piano work embedded in the background of each track, appropriately ending the album with the lullaby, “Goodnight”. Over the course of an hour in twelve loosely wrapped tracks, like random gifts left on the porch to be discovered by your sleepy neighbors, Near The Parenthesis delivers another collection of soothing glitchy ambient sounds, calming atmospheres and warm sunny rays."
Cyclic Defrost, October 2010
"While San Francisco-based electronic producer Tim Arndt’s preceding 2008 album ‘L’Eixample’ on n5MD saw him taking inspiration from his travels around the Barcelona district of the same name, this latest fourth album ‘Music For The Forest Concourse’ springs from a slightly more imaginary realm, with Arndt instead choosing the broad concept of time itself as his subject. Indeed, Arndt himself describes the twelve tracks here as ‘a collection for dusk, for open air, for sitting down and for breathing in – it is music for staring upwards and listening attentively or casually.” It’s certainly something of an accurate and apt description. As with Arndt’s previous work as Near The Parenthesis, the predominant emphasis here falls upon his lush, melancholic piano arrangements, with the addition of subtle electronics and minimalist glitchy rhythms calling to mind an atmosphere that frequently sits equally between modern classical and ambient. If opening track ‘Good Evening’ sees proceedings gently unfurling from a wash of ambient electronic textures into elegant piano arrangements coloured with the langorous click and buzz of electronic processing, ‘Lambent Traces Of The Day’ sees more rhythmic ballast entering the mix as clattering, almost post-rock tinged drums lock into place amidst the tumbling keys and gauzy, delayed out melodic electronic tones. There’s also a discernible nod towards Neu!-esque motorik rhythms to be found on ‘Within An Orbit’ as seemingly frictionless, flickering beats glide beneath tinkling keys and the slow, overlapping decay of pitched-down harmonic tones, but these occasional ventures into rhythmic territory aside, for the most part this is an album more geared towards early hours listening, with the aesthetic lean towards more melancholic hues on dreamlike tracks such as ‘Inertia (Stay Right Here)’ and ‘Low Horizon’ coming across as more contemplative than morose."
soft warmly straw raincoat
voice and radio bureau
the rose and burial
your subconscious condition
the first surface
in regard to water
the listening surround
colors live remarkable
country of true wonder
Textura, March 2011
"Tim Arndt's fifth Near The Parenthesis outing (his fourth for n5MD) is perhaps as accessible as so-called electronic music gets, as Japanese For Beginners packs nine four-minute melodic IDM-oriented pieces into a fat-free, forty-three-minute collection. Bringing a painterly sensibility to the material, Arndt creates texturally rich, multi-layered tapestries typically populated with piano melodies at the forefront and intricate beat programming behind, with all of it augmented with liberal doses of synthetic and electronic design. What results are less conventional compositions that move through narrative episodes of development, climax, and resolution than serenading dreamscapes of uniform mood. Enhancing the music's entrancing effect is Arndt's decision to have each piece flow seamlessly into the next, a move that allows the album to be experienced as a scene-shifting whole rather than as one filled with distinct tracks. “Soft Warmly Straw Raincoat” establishes the template with a rich electronic sound-world filled with pretty piano-based sparkle and downtempo hip-hop beats. “Voice and Radio Bureau” augments delicate field of wistful piano playing and radiant electronic atmosphere with insistent rhythm underpinning, while “In Regard to Water” shimmers beatifically, with the keyboards melding into a mesmerizing sound-field and skittish drumming keeping up a soft burble behind. Classical piano playing lends “The Listening Surround” an appealing serenity, and similar classical flavouring emerges in many another track too. Japanese For Beginners doesn't represent a radical new phase in the Near The Parenthesis saga (even if it's clearly more electronic-oriented than 2010's Music for the Forest Concourse), but that need not be construed as criticism as the collection can be heard as a consolidation of the project's strengths. Since issuing Near The Parenthesis material since 2006, the San Francisco-based producer has refined the craft involved in his productions to the level of art, as everything fits together seamlessly and with a satisfying degree of balance, even when there is a large number of sounds in play at any given moment."
Autres Directions (France), March 2011
"Cela pourrait n’être qu’un énième album parmi les nombreuses productions actuelles cataloguées au rayon IDM / néo-classique – de surcroit affublé d’une pochette particulièrement affreuse. Le cinquième album depuis 2006 du prolifique Near The Parenthesis s’inscrit d’ailleurs dans la stricte continuité de son prédécesseur, Music For The Forest Concourse. Mais dans ce registre musical, tout se joue dans le détail. Au-delà de l’attention apportée à chacune des compositions, c’est la conception de l’ensemble, l’agencement des pièces instrumentales entre elles, qui permet à Japanese For Beginners de prendre de l’ampleur. Avec les mêmes ingrédients qu’à l’accoutumée (des machines et une bonne maitrise de quelques logiciels de traitement de son), la musique imaginée en solitaire par Tim Arndt gagne en élégance et en sensibilité. Le résident de San Francisco produit sur ces neuf nouvelles compositions un remarquable travail sur les programmations rythmiques, dépassant le carcan imposé par les machines. Chaque morceau fourmille de mille et un détails donnant de la profondeur, voire même une certaine chaleur, pour que s’épanouissent les motifs hautement émotifs joués au piano ou au synthétiseur. L’album donne matière au vagabondage de l’esprit, quand on peut autant se focaliser sur un crépitement lointain que se laisser emporter dans un tourbillon ascensionnel. Dans ces moments propices à la rêverie, Near The Parenthesis œuvre dans le même registre que The Album Leaf, développant une belle capacité à circonscrire l’emportement des sentiments."
De:Bug, March 2011
"Unermütlich und wieder ganz und gar wunderbar schleift sich Tim Arndt durch seine durch und durch tief melancholische Musik, und wir, wir können einfach nur dankbar dafür sein. Vollkommen egal, ob es an einigen Stellen ins Kitschige abrutscht. Soll ja Leute geben, die das kritisch sehen. Aber selbst die werden nicht umhin kommen, mit einem versteckten Seufzer Sympathie zu signalisieren. Nur gang kurz. Heimlich, still und leise. Über “Japanese For Beginners” schwebt eine Schicht kratziger Noise, die immer dann vom Piano weggewischt wird, wenn der Track es benötigt. Dann tritt das Feedback in die zweite Reihe, überlässt den Melodien und Beats den Vortritt und dreht weiter, nur leiser, an seiner kleinen Drehorgel, die uns an die technologische Grundlage dieser tollen Musik erinnert. Erst der Funkensprung auf dem Schaltkreis lässt uns große Augen machen. Near The Parenthesis sprüht wie ein Nordlicht."
[Sic] Magazine, April 2011
"Near The Parenthesis is one of those artists who is well known and highly regarded within certain circles, yet unknown within others. His consistency has secured a permanent berth at genre ‘centre of excellence’, n5MD but for those only just discovering his music Near The Parenthesis may fall into the category of ‘Top quality artist that I need to have something by – but I’m unsure of which release to go for’. Blended key and piano arpeggios are signature Near The Parenthesis (Whose real name is Tim Arndt) The effect is like being showered in music. Big, splashy drops of loveliness fall upon the listener like summer rain. Albums tend to evolve in a naturalistic fashion. Actually Near The Parenthesis would make a perfect accompaniment to a nature documentary. It would have to a quality film though – something by BBC or Discovery. This music develops with dignity, restrained growth, ebbing and flowing, that kind of thing. No great overtures or explosive climaxing. All very agreeable. Sometimes tracks meander. Sometimes you aren’t quite aware that you crossed over to a different piece. I love it. The difference with Japanese for Beginners, slight though it may be, is in the programming. Things are a little more IDM now. Beats are more purposeful. The air crackles with electricity and it’s clear something mechanical is walking this forest. Take a piece like ‘In Regard To Water’ and you hear all manner of influences from labelmate/friend Arc Lab all the way back to Harold Budd. Near The Parenthesis will get the “samey” accusation thrown his way, of that there is no doubt. But one persons ‘repetitive’ is anothers ‘consistent’. Like the best of ambient, the real ambient, Near The Parenthesis isn’t background music at all. Anyone with a tendancy to switch off or disengage ought to rethink or avoid becaue I really don’t think this is oriented towards that. Japanese for Beginners to me is contemplative. It strikes my mind that it is about hope rather than despair, despite its air of melancholy. It’s a trickle effect, sure, but hey, canyons were forged that way. Not sure which release to go for? Try this one."
voice and radio bureau (treated)
settle in (treated)
march through september (treated)
mano (down review remix), leon somov
green and olive (a different hue mix), another electronic musician
three days before i move (71 hours left mix), proem
no tone (near the parenthesis remix), ent
baby beating heart (near the parenthesis remix), stripmall architecture
the days we spent within (near the parenthesis remix), bitcrush
a brief walk in the sea
not here, not tonight