Verdict: Good for spacing out.
I rarely take baths. After the initial moments of relaxation settle in, I realize I'm just sitting in a pool of my own dirt. My first attempt at listening to Koen Holtkamp's debut took place in one of these rare bath taking moments. And to Koen's credit I was spaced out enough by the vibes of Field Rituals to make it through a good portion of the album before having to bail on my bath. Now that I've had several bathless listens to this gem, I think it's safe to say while Koen's not necessarily bringing anything new to the ambient-drone table he's defiantly holding his own in a genre's that's been pretty much exhausted by anyone who knows how to work a laptop. Field Rituals has a nice blissful dreamy quality that finds its self sharing time with tempo stretched guitars, ear panning bells, psyched-out synths, acoustic strums, and you guessed it, field recordings. The prime example of Koen's abilities to space out the listener without being overtly spacey is nestled between the 14 minutes of "Sky Flowers." The track opens with multi-delayed acoustics and bells sliding from speaker to speaker while a slowed down guitar chord ushers in a scene of wild children escaping their parent's grasp to run free with their playmates in a city park. The scene changes as the children are panned out and we are left with a wandering synthesizer and a new round of bouncing acoustics. One of my favorite tracks of the year fo sho. And while the whole album doesn't ride the same high that "Sky Flowers" produces, there are definitely no crap moments. If you've got a patient ear, I'm sure you'll be rewarded by this near hour long trip.