By profession Jack Soundfield is an engineer who has travelled around the world. He has lived in Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Besides uncovering the secrets of the globe Jack has a passion for music and experimenting with instruments and sounds. “Before publishing a song, it is mine alone,” says Soundfield. “After publishing it, anyone can listen to it and decide whether to identify with it, or love it, or both.” Jack, who has been composing music since 2009, recently released his debut album, entitled “Shine”. “I have to admit,” explained Soundfield, “that my girlfriend – a solfège teacher of the Kodály method – sometimes did intervene and had her influence on the music.”
In writing about ambient music, Douglas Rushkoff notes that ‘ambient’ music isn’t a set of particular sounds one listens to but a space in which one breathes. Rushkoff was referring specifically to ambient visionary Brian Eno but it can easily apply to Jack Soundfield and “Shine”. Though to be fair, Soundfield’s instrumental music is more pop orientated and brighter sounding, the fact remain that it creates ‘’a space in which to breathe’’.
Whereas classic ambient has layers and washes of sound and music that can be focused on or ignored, lazily mind-surfed or instead analyzed, Soundfield’s soundscapes have defined melody in the forefront which of course becomes hard to ignore.
Never just a trite sound collage – a problem which plagues so many in this genre – “Shine” has moods, textures, and rhythms, that lend well to repeated listening. You can dig deep or soar to the shore with this collective work.
The other interesting thing is that Jack Soundfield uses a series of what can be called classic ‘old school’, almost MIDI-like sounds, as opposed to the high-flying electronic mimicry of Digital Audio. This is true of both the keyboard sounds and the percussion.
There are lots of harpsichord and string instrumentation which gives the pieces a classic feel. Sometimes they are even cinematic, as is the case with “Freedom Ride” and the title track “Shine”. So, this music is perfect for so many things. Night driving, working, sleeping, hanging out, studying, reading – the minimalism and yet fullness of these tunes is irresistible.