‘Playscapes’ is the latest album from experimental ambient folk musician, Tuulikki Bartosik. The album is an expansive journey into sound. One that takes you from coast to coast, mountain to mountain, all in the name of finding new soundscapes to live in. ‘Playscapes’ feels like a picture of life taken through music. With each track a landscape of another place. We hear soundbites from the location as longing synths and instrumentals pile on, layer after layer, to create a mass of sound that is inescapable. It's euphoric and enlightening, you feel you are discovering new people, new ideas. The through line that connects each and every song is one of ambience. The music that Tuulikki Bartosik has produced for ‘Playscapes’ is massive and dense. Each track features instruments that exist only on that track, they each hold a distinct individuality that is fleeting, experienced once and then gone forever. Luckily we can relive the feeling as many times as we like, this is definitely an album you can stick on repeat.
The albums’ sounds span the globe. You will likely find a destination amongst the 12 that you either know of or have visited yourself. If that is the case, this is where the fun begins. You get to experience that place through the eyes and ears of another. What were they taking in? What struck them as musical? Can I picture the place they are describing through sound? It’s simply fascinating to match the place to its song and find that most of the time you nail it first try because ‘Playscapes’ gets the feeling of the place just right. It's all well and good to take national and popular instruments and play a song with them, you may get a sound that belongs to a certain place. But to create a sound that lives and breathes with the people is something entirely different and that is what has been achieved by Tuulikki Bartosik.
Each song captivated me. Strings and harps and guitars of all shapes and sizes play beautiful melodies, fast and slow, to a backing that can range from breathy to fast-paced and heavy. It's a diverse album and it is made even more fascinating because of it. I listened to ‘London’ many times over as it's the city that I know best and visit often. I was blown sideways. The sound of the underground track, a tube pulling in.