Rich Ruth

I Survived, It’s Over
(Third Man)

Michael Rich Ruth makes ambient music that sidles in from a jazz fusion angle, as easy to get lost in its haziness as it is its intricacy. This can certainly be said for his latest album, created in the midst of the pandemic and after tornadoes struck Ruth’s north Nashville neighborhood.

It’s a trip, which, considering it’s a work born in the wake of multiple tragedies, is quite the achievement. It’s music in which notes come crashing in like waves, leaving the listener attempting to regain one’s bearings in their wake. It’s heavy on the synthesizers; that’s the point. Ruth is making a whole atmosphere here, but the thing about atmosphere is that one can sometimes get a little lost in a pocket of hot air.

Reuben Gingrich’s drumming is a grounding element here, impressive and a draw for the ear when the beat-less, more ambient tunes have a little less to chew on. The slow swell of album centerpiece “Thou Mayest” is the perfect release of such perfectly built tension, complete with samples from televangelists and a well- deployed pedal steel guitar wielded by Whit Wright. It definitely grabs attention.

The most meditative tracks, “Desensitization And Reprocessing” and closer “Doxology,” are two-handers alongside saxophonist Caleb Hickman seemingly designed to get lost in, but this could also mean one has lost interest. Hey, it’s an ambient album. It happens sometimes.

Nevertheless, I Survived, It’s Over is a pretty decent 38 minutes that feels as calming as it’s meant to be for its namesake.

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