Photo: Holly Hall

Karima Walker takes us drifting down the Rio Grande on exquisite ambient track “Horizon, Harbor Resonance”

Karima Walker recently revealed that she’s got a new album called Waking the Dreaming Body coming out in February, and shared the delicate and heartbreaking “Reconstellated”. Today she gives us the extended ambient track “Horizon, Harbor Resonance”, along with a DIY travelogue video through her home state of Arizona, tracing the Rio Grande river. On the song and video she says:

“I have been obsessed with waves and tsunamis for the past few years (Harbor Resonance is an effect that happens during a tsunami, where the force of the wave is magnified when it’s contained) and this song was a way of working through that obsession… The video traces the Rio Grande River valley across the New Mexico Colorado border. Touring in the western US, on these long drives, I would enter a kind of altered state, watching the landscape change over many hours. This particular region stayed with me, and ended up inspiring large parts of the record and Horizon, Harbor Resonance especially.”

That “Horizon, Harbor Resonance” is partly inspired by tsunamis is quite confounding, because the piece is placid and peaceful, with Walker layering synthesizers in slow-motion undulations while quiet crackles bring a natural atmosphere. It invites us to think that perhaps this song was written in the aftermath of an emotional tsunami, and “Horizon, Harbor Resonance” is something like the sound of Walker’s unsettled internal state gradually settling back to a place of calmness. Despite the majority of the song being something you could drift away on, there is tension to back up this idea of emotional unease, as the song reaches a higher-pitched and more alert-sounding chimes around its middle, like ears ringing in the aftermath of some kind of juddering collision. These taut sounds eventually coalesce to a quiet cacophony, before Walker guides us masterfully back down from this peak back into a place of relative tranquility.

This is the magic of all great ambient music, of which “Horizon, Harbor Resonance” surely is; the creator certainly had intentions in making it, but it is left wide open for the listener to make their own interpretations, and all are valid. The video road trip video for the song augments this, with imagery that is expansive and breathtaking, but not prescriptive, again letting your imagination wander.

Adding more about the clip, Walker says: “I wanted to share this special way of seeing with people, to stretch and compress time like in a dream, the way mountains will sometimes move like water as you move through a landscape over the course of a day, and how our experience changes when the ‘eye’ is steady or hand held. These ways of seeing change our perception and experience, and so too our participation in a place and our access and connection to it.” Enjoy it below.

Karima Walker’s new album Waking the Dreaming Body is out on February 26 through Keeled Scales / Orindal Records. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.