Everything Pale Blue is the first collection of ambient music by New York City-based composer and Au Revoir Simone keyboardist Annie Hart. Performed on analog synthesizers and processed through daisy chains of delay, reverb and loop effects, Everything Pale Blue’s warm, sonorous tones and trance-like, minimalist arrangements recall the work of pioneering electronic music composers Wendy Carlos, Éliane Radigue and Brian Eno, as well as German Kosmische Musik groups of the 70’s like Kraftwerk, Cluster and Tangerine Dream.
Throughout Everything Pale Blue, Hart’s gentle arpeggios and playful melodic figures echo the harmonies and rhythms of our natural world, from the cycles of flora, fauna and weather patterns to the orbits of celestial bodies. Everything Pale Blue’s four gorgeously expansive instrumental tracks reward patient listeners seeking calm, melody and meditation.
Annie Hart explains:
“I began composing Everything Pale Blue in November 2020 at an artist’s residency near Oneonta, New York called Aunt Karen’s Farm, which was funded through a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, whose mission is to support arts created by people with children. Normally, it’s a hub of activity, but due to COVID, it was just me, and for part of the time, my family, sharing an open, empty farm space; a true retreat. At first I was a bit bored by the same scenery every day in such a gloomy, wet, gray season, but after a while I started seeing the minute daily changes in the nature around me. Every day I went on walks through fallow fields spiked with mown straw, sometimes wet with mud, sometimes caked with snow, and on some magical days, encased in crystalline ice. I started seeing the trees around the farm as individuals, with their own personalities. I saw the leaves change on the ground from yellow and brown, to dry brown blowing ones, to wet, dark brown precursors to soil that would then nurture the same trees they came from. Obviously, in New York City, we see trees every day, but it is incredibly rare to witness their symbioses with each other and the soil and animals. I started noticing the differences in the bird songs of each species and their various moods.
“At the start of my residency, I visited Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta where I was drawn to the 33 1/3 book on Another Green World by Geeta Dayal. She’s a great writer and laid Eno’s processes and philosophies out in an incredibly tangible way. I savored that book and bought AGW on iTunes and would listen on repeat while I ate my suppers. I had intended to use my time at the farm to finish recording a pop record, but I soon started sliding out of the typical song structure mentality and sliding into a playing/listening mentality. And I mean “play” in the childish sense. I brought my Oblique Strategies cards that I got for my birthday and I started just going to the recording studio I’d set up in the farmhouse’s living room and doing wild experiments.
“I’d brought along a few of my analog synthesizers (a Minimoog Model D, a Sequential Prophet-6, a Yamaha CP-20) plus some delay, reverb and loop effects. I started to think about just how meditative, playful and creative I could be within small parameters. I composed “Somebody Moves, Nobody Talks” like that, with the idea of how to make my own version of Eno’s studio with tape going around the room, looped on pencils.
“It was incredible to see the shift in my mentality over the time at the farm. To go from gripping and holding to just playing; allowing myself the freedom to create without guilt or responsibility, to see the shifts in my abilities as a composer and musician. It was absolutely magical and I consider that month an incredibly formative one that I am so lucky to have been able to attend and appreciate.”