Melody-rich ambient from the Canadian artist.
On "Levi's Synth," Khotin-Foote doodles on a keyboard, dressing the track up with birdsong and plaintive chords. It's impressionistic and casually beautiful, each chord wash transfixing your ear. Pillowy organs appear and disappear on the stunning "Water Soaked In Forever," which moves with a pendulous yet organic rhythm. The track's natural feel gets to the bottom of why Khotin-Foote's ambient is so appealing: it's never complicated. The melodies are catchy, the atmospheres are transportive—and all it takes is a few strokes of a keyboard and some samples.
Beautiful You also benefits from a placid mood that makes it more relaxing than its predecessor. The songs run much longer, though they never overstay their welcome. "Looping Good" holds a woozy, kick-free groove in suspended animation. "Vacation" draws out the power of stillness, with a single sustained chord shimmering through the entire track. There are a few distractions—pinging notes, pitched-down vocals—but your focus is always drawn back to that one synth.
Voices float in and out of earshot on Beautiful You, contributing to a foggy, dreamlike atmosphere reflected in the cover, an ASCII-rendered photo of Khotin's family living in Italy as refugees in the '80s. The quote that kicks off the record—"Beautiful you, thanks for the smile"—was inspired by a note left eight years ago on Khotin-Foote's car windshield. He never figured out who put it there, but the phrase stuck with him long enough to resurface during the sessions for this album. Like any of the memorable moments on Beautiful You, that anonymous sentence is simple, haunting and hard to get out of your head.