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Where Have All The Wolves Gone

by Polar Moon

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Descension 04:26
First Moon 04:30
Sky People 04:19
Ascension 03:41
Patagonia 05:13
Change 03:53


The final act of the new album from Polar Moon (aka Jonny Radtke) is ushered in by “Patagonia”, a native term translated as “land of the giants”. Fittingly, its graceful, overlapping piano lines and shuddering, organic rhythm give the acute sense of something massive approaching over the horizon. This is no apparition of dread, though; it’s a purely curious and stirring anticipation, in keeping with the pensive tone and kinetic pace of the set altogether. Where Have All the Wolves Gone carefully casts its beguiling arrangements across a patient and dynamic topography, becalmed but cavernously deep.

While Radtke’s 2020 debut As Above, So Below established the artist as a singular presence in modern ambient composition with its balance of chamber music influence and expert sound design, here he elaborates on those elements with unhurried complexity at nearly every level.

It’s a truly personal study in nuanced crescendo and kaleidoscopic release, the layers of instrumentation like particles in an accelerator that gather, eddy, disperse and explode in heart-rending deliverance. In this way, standout track “Sky People” rides on a Sunday-mellow piano motif as pizzicato strings shake off their dust across the stereo divide, appearing in the manner of distant stars as you edge away from city light and into the wilds.

Elsewhere, (fraternal) twin tracks “Descension” and “Ascension” define the first half of the record, with the former bathed in mysterious harmonic swirls, and the latter resolving into hopeful shimmer on a bed of perfectly intoned strings and reverberating bells. Describing the creation of these works over the last three years, Radtke notes “a conscious decision to shut out surrounding noise and find some serenity hidden among all the uncertainty.” The writing process was unavoidably fed by reflection, appreciation and the reduction of life to a granular level in order to honor its magnitude.

Accordingly, Where Have All the Wolves Gone presents an overall sense of security in solitude – whether forced or voluntary – with moments of melancholy lonesomeness soothed by the perennial realization that existence itself is miraculous. All things depart sooner or later, and you learn to cherish even more deeply the ones that return; we are pack animals, but there are undeniable benefits to be earned from a secluded sojourn.

To this point, the exemplary “Destination Nowhere” bears the fruit of Radtke’s artistic evolution early on in the album. Landing with gentle force, its mid-tempo percussion brings to mind the cracking of ice and snapping of fallen branches underfoot, as the felt and hammers of an immaculately recorded piano establish a sense of intimate comfort. It’s just one breathtaking moment amid a collection of many.

Mastered by like-minded artist and engineer Drew Sullivan (aka Slow Dancing Society), Where Have All the Wolves Gone leaves an indelible emotional impression, and could well stand as a new benchmark in its genre.

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


released December 13, 2023

Written, produced, and mixed by Jonny Radtke
Mastered at SDS Studio by Drew Sullivan
Cover art by Jessica Stramer
Layout by zakè

© 2023 Past Inside the Present
℗ 2023 Polar Moon Music (ASCAP)
This is PITP45 | MMXXIII

◾️◾️◾️ REVIEWS

"Polar Moon (aka Jonny Radtke) is back with a new album Where Have All The Wolves Gone on Past Inside The Present, a true world to get lost in and that leaves an indelible emotional impression. It's a delightful mix of overlapping piano lines and organic rhythms that range from curious to dread-fueled and are never less than intriguing. Radtke finds real art in crescendo and release throughout this record which ebbs and flows with real intensity. Standout track 'Sky People' has a mellow piano line peppered with pizzicato strings that give the effect of a twinkling star way off in the distance. Sublime."

- Juno Records


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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

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