We’ve updated our Terms of Use to reflect our new entity name and address. You can review the changes here.
We’ve updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Soft Octaves

by James Bernard & anthéne

supported by
Ur Trommler
Ur Trommler thumbnail
Ur Trommler Stunningly beautiful, deep and tuneful compositions deftly executed and perfect in every way... add marine eyes and this is a top five release for me this year. Mentioning the wonderful listening party that occurred, if you have the chance to attend a future one, don't sleep on it...
Favorite track: Trembling House [f. marine eyes].
Katy Jay (Radio Presenter, Skylab Radio)
Katy Jay (Radio Presenter, Skylab Radio) thumbnail
Katy Jay (Radio Presenter, Skylab Radio) Featured on 'The Launchpad' on Thursday 14th December 2023. I lost myself in my headphones listening to this track... stunning ambient meditation abounds. Favorite track: Cortège.
ernstlat thumbnail
ernstlat wonderfully relaxing and sublime ambient, love it Favorite track: Point of Departure.
Sounds Vegan
Sounds Vegan thumbnail
Sounds Vegan The harmony we all long for in these times (according to James, the main inspiration for "Soft Octaves" was our "time of uncertainty and hope") lies in the octaves of these beautiful works of sound art. With your headphones on, you can let yourself be carried away to other worlds and discover colourful, imaginative horizons. Find my review here: soundsvegan.com/2023/11/james-bernard-anthene-soft-octaves-en/ Favorite track: Trembling House [f. marine eyes].
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $6 USD  or more


  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    180g opaque blue/pink vinyl record, housed in a 5mm wide spine matte jacket. Record placed in a black, anti-static inner sleeve with a .75 gauge archival polypropylene lining. Full color center labels. Includes a digital download card. Shrinkwrapped. Edition of 200.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Soft Octaves via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    edition of 200  12 remaining
    Purchasable with gift card

      $21 USD or more 


  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 151 Past Inside the Present releases available on Bandcamp and save 90%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of to belong, Dwell Time II, Loss, Reality Engine, Do We Become Sky?, Where Have All The Wolves Gone, 23 in 23', Soft Octaves, and 143 more. , and , .

    Purchasable with gift card

      $61.10 USD or more (90% OFF)


Flow State 04:58
Suadade 02:13
Overcast 02:44
Soft Octaves 06:38
Cortège 05:27
Renascence 04:12
Summation 04:22


"That liminal moment, when the phosphorescence behind the window shade first disrupts your eyelids, is a difficult one to pinpoint. Sometimes the earliest thought in your mind is a long-tail partial memory of those last few moments of a thousand-yard dream, sometimes it’s an irrepressible descending sigh as you anticipate what’s to follow, whether with apprehension or ardor. Centuries have passed in your unconscious absence; every frequency is existing somewhere.

​California’s James Bernard, an established PITP veteran, has been creating and releasing music for nearly 30 years across many genres and label affiliations, in addition to his expert engineering, patch-building and mastering work. Both as a solo artist and collaborator he has also brought an inimitable degree of invention and skill, heaviness and delicacy to works for A Strangely Isolated Place, Rising High and others.
For Soft Octaves, he created a suite of compositions using electric six-string bass, which yields a massive range spanning from subterranean rumble to cirrus vapor. Each recorded in a single take through an array of effects and augmented by volume pedal to soften the edges, these pieces occupy a symphonic space of tonal androgyny, at times resembling a cello, a woodwind or something altogether unplaceable, but always arranged with deft and intuitive pacing.

anthéne (aka Brad Deschamps of Toronto) complements Bernard’s environments with harmonized pulses, lyrical slow-motion melodies and evocative pedal steel guitar that pitches and yaws above the firmament. As the founder of Polar Seas Recordings, Deschamps has created and facilitated a considerable catalog of patient music in keeping with the imprint’s name, incorporating plectrums, analog synthesizer and field recording as the bases of his output. The impressions of northern climes that he creates make for an unlikely but perfect fit amid the hazy, coastal spaces of the source material here.

Soft Octaves’ title track is an exemplary iteration of each artist’s strengths, as the curtain slowly parts to reveal a daylit panorama accented by an organic rustle, echoing guitar swells and subtle digital grain. Standout “Trembling House” builds on this tenor, incorporating the voice of marine eyes (aka Cynthia Bernard, James’s partner in PITP duo awakened souls) layered in ghost tones around itself, a lullabied comfort even as it drifts away into the ionosphere. Other key tracks like “Renascence” and “Cortège” introduce elements that imbue their aquatic dirge with church-like reverence.

Citing “times of uncertainty and hope” as the primary genesis for much of this work, Bernard proves himself once more a master of transfiguration, weaving meditative and compelling beauty from the strands of doubt and fear that many of us have faced in this young century. His wise choice to trust his works in the capable hands of Deschamps has yielded a complex and dynamic set that perfectly captures the essence of the magic hour, where all is suspended in shifting pastels.​"

Written by Thomas Meluch
​[Benoît Pioulard], October 2023


released November 29, 2023

Written, recorded, and produced by James Bernard and Brad Deschamps; Six string bass guitar and pedalboard performed by James Bernard • Lap steel, guitar, pedalboard, synthesizer, and field recordings by Brad Deschamps ​• Vocals on 'Trembling House' by marine eyes

Mixed and mastered at Ambient Mountain House by James Bernard
Cut at ODM
Vinyl pressed at Dunk!Pressing
Manufactured and assembled in Belgium
Photography by Cynthia Bernard
Design and layout by zakè

©Past Inside the Present
℗Past Inside the Present Publishing (BMI)
This is PITP-V060 | MMXXIII



all rights reserved



Past Inside the Present Indianapolis, Indiana

Past Inside the Present (PITP) is an american ambient label.

Distribution through A Thousand Arms (US), Juno Records (UK), Norman Records (UK), Tobira Records (JP), Linus Records (JP), HHV (DE), BLEEP (UK), Phonica Records (UK), Boomkat (UK) and others. ... more

contact / help

Contact Past Inside the Present

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

Past Inside the Present recommends:

If you like Soft Octaves, you may also like: