A Sea Without Memory is David Helpling’s first ever solo ambient guitar album. The music, created live using only electric guitar and a series of custom programmed effects processors, is the culmination of the signature ambient guitar sound he has been refining throughout his entire career.
The project began in late 2016 when, while at work on his next solo release, Helpling set aside some time to create and share weekly ambient guitar improvisations in a YouTube series he called Sunday Loops. Pure, deeply personal and heartfelt, these short, single-take vignettes have been shared with the world almost every Sunday night for nearly a full year. The response to these ambient guitar explorations has been overwhelming, and there have been many requests to release them as an official album.
However, rather than simply compiling the Sunday Loops and releasing them as a collection of stand alone tracks, there was a desire to craft a unique experience from a careful selection of the material and tell a more expansive story, so David’s friend and long time collaborator Jon Jenkins began to blend the tracks together, combining the original pieces into meaningful longer passages, and at that point the vision became clear. “After hearing what Jon had in mind for the direction of this release, I was inspired and intrigued,” David explains. “I started hearing everything as if for the first time. The story was all there, and it felt like a complete album.”
With the Sunday Loops at its core, this new release was born from a desire to step out of a comfort zone and create music without forethought or scripting. The creative process was additionally inspired by the visual images of Shawn Malone, many of which are found in the accompanying digital booklet. Helpling would imagine cold and solitary places while letting the music flow and unfold…like an aural time-lapse composition.
Helpling’s textural guitar soundscapes have become a definitive sound and something woven throughout almost all of his music, but not since the track “Loss Of Words” from his 1996 debut Between Green And Blue, has he created and released ambient guitar music as a solo presentation. “Hearing the sounds that are so personal and important to me in a fully focused long form listening experience is so powerful and exciting,” he comments. “In most of my work, ambient guitar is just one layer of many, so to have it stand alone and bring a compelling experience to the listener is a big deal. This may be the purest form of music I have ever created.”
A Sea Without Memory is a sharing, a story in watercolor told through the deep and textured hues of ambient guitar. Melancholy, shimmering and wondrous, this experience is not a journey, but rather an unfolding of events that approach, surround, then move beyond the listener, delivering a constant flow of dreamlike moments that slowly dissolve into the next wave of sound.
Be still in the space, and let A Sea Without Memory slowly color your world.