Behind In Vivid is Ben Snook, a Lawrence-based producer with a knack for creating warm, swirling music. Fresh off his 2015 sophomore album Resplendent, Snook returns less than a year later with TOUJOURS. While Resplendent and debut release A Delicate Balance take its cues from ambient, folktronica, and techno influences, Snook diversifies his discography by expanding on these genres and implementing styles of hip hop, glitch, trap, and wonky.

TOUJOURS is 35 minutes of beat-heavy soundscapes coupled with twinkling guitars, layered harps, and pulsating drones. Even at its most hard-hitting, Snook’s third effort won’t be bringing anyone out onto the dancefloor. Instead, the serene atmospheres he crafts are perhaps better suited for a bicycle ride on an inviting Spring morning, or a few spare moments of introspection and concentration. The refreshing arsenal of sounds that move throughout TOUJOURS may be the most calming and impressive in beat music of 2016.

Shakers, rattlers, and various arrays of jingle-janglers fill out a noteworthy amount of backing space. Field recordings and spoken word samples are abundant; on opener “Azure Plaza”, a park rich with children playing and foreigners conversing proceeds a drop that will have listeners immediately absorbed into the In Vivid cosmos from the start. “Music Box to Her Ears” plays on the same ideas, with multiple tracks of family celebrations and friendly parties blanketed in torrents of whirring swells. Men reflectively relive some of their most telling dreams on both “Ariel’s Zebras” and “There Isn’t an Ivy Alcove”. It is these concepts paired with the creation and manipulation of sound and beats that make TOUJOURS so intoxicating.

With the exception of a few tracks, this release is largely an exciting collection of short, lucid instrumentals. The way  one ends and the other begins gives audiences a feeling of one, continuous mood. If you are looking for a cozy, mind-massaging listen to engulf yourself with, there are few better albums than TOUJOURS.

Catalog Number: ah025


recorded, mixed and mastered by Ben Snook