Near the Parenthesis
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Near the Parenthesis

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band EDM Classical


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




"Anyone still unconvinced that electronic music can convey emotion need only listen to Tim Arndt's fourth Near The Parenthesis album for n5MD, Music For The Forest Concourse, to be convinced otherwise. Arndt has an uncanny talent for maximizing the emotional side of his material, with the result serenading tracks brimming with showers of synthetic sparkle and plaintive piano melodies. With its elegant piano playing wrapped in swathes of electronics, the album opener “Good Evening” proves a particularly good exemplar of the style, as does “Inertia (Stay Right Here),” where equally lovely piano playing meanders through a garden of electronic delights. Generally speaking, the hour-long collection is a predictably stirring set from the San Francisco-based producer, who first gained attention with his 2006 release Go Out and See on the Canadian imprint Music Made By People. In Arndt's own words, Music For The Forest Concourse is “for dusk, for open air, for sitting down, and for breathing in. It is music for staring upwards and listening attentively or casually.” Though such a description emphasizes the music's calming dimension, his material can also work up a fair degree of intensity, as tracks such as “Pollarding Trees” and “Diffused” make clear (the latter could even be called shoegaze, if a guitar-less variant of it). In almost every case, Arndt gets the job done in about five minutes' time, so the album moves efficiently from one track to the next. He also brings immense craft to the construction of his multi-layered settings; though each features a wealth of sounds—beats, strings, flickering electronics, an occasional voice recording—, a sense of clarity pervades, in large part due to the central presence of the piano. How fitting it is that the quietly rapturous lullaby with which the album ends, “Good Night,” should be so strongly anchored by the instrument." - Textura, Music for the Forest Concourse

"Ear Influxion"

"Many of the nine tracks found on L'Eixample ebb and flow with a ponderous grace, with an emphasis on an understated melancholy and lushness that complement its textures, arrangements and melodic sensibility. It is in this shimmering warmth that L'Eixample shakes away many of the immediate comparisons to artists like Arovane or Autechre; many of the more angular or mechanical sounds to be found in those artists' work are completely absent here, or at least dialed down considerably. There is more in common with Cliff Martinez's Solaris score than anything on City Centre Offices; Arndt flaunts a similar knack for repetition and cyclical patterns that are at alternate times hypnotic, moving or insistent. Because of this, the tracks heard on L'Eixample don't feel overly distinct to me but parts of a whole, and this is why it succeeds as an album. While sometimes that homogenous quality can undermine an album, here it strengthens it. There are still some truly gorgeous specific moments on here: the opening melodic phrases of "Guell" are equally gloomy and lovely, while the closing sequence of "A Brief Walk In The Sea" is triumphant in its elegance. The disembodied voices underneath "Empty Square" and "Departing Gate" might make you turn your head a bit just to make sure it's on the album and not somewhere else in the distance; the latter also is built around a nice piano arrangement that builds over its five minutes into a layered beauty. L'Eixample is a really nice piece of work that comes highly recommended for any fan of emotive, instrumental electronic music. For this listener, it's helped revive an interest in IDM and electronic listening music, proving that you don't need to reinvent the wheel to create something inspiring and moving." - Ear Influxion, L'Eixample

"The Milk Factory"

"With L’Eixample, Amdt returns to the gentle atmospheric postcards that defined his previous outputs and expands on the already rich soundscapes and textures that served them. The nine tracks collected here seamlessly morph into one another and melodies effortlessly float above the minute formations that act as main backbone for each individual piece. Sounding like representations of crisp, cold and foggy winter mornings, where familiar settings are swallowed in a dense veil and become haunting shapes, Amdt’s compositions move slowly, revealing various facets of their individual scope with each new exposure. But, behind the dense textural curtain which covers the whole album, lush instrumentations and sequences can be heard. Distant voices, softened pianos or rounded electric guitars create unique spaces within the music and, while contributing greatly to the overall mood, also manage to radiate altogether much more vivid tones. On Cedra’s Plan for instance, the main piano melody which emerges from the shifting waters of the first half of the piece gives a much earthier feel to the latter part. SMDM is instantly more clearly defined, but yet again, it is the piano that contrasts with its resolutely vaporous backdrop. On Empty Square, piano and processed guitars create a mood reminiscent of the collaboration between former Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie and ambient composer Harold Budd, but then the track takes a turn for the barer and more desolate until just a distant voice remains, and on opening piece Modernisme, ethereal voices contribute to the overall haunting feel of the composition. Tim Amdt has created with his third album an exquisite atmospheric soundtrack. The refined soundscapes and moods serve his melodies beautifully, and contribute to create an extremely consistent and cinematic collection." - The Milk Factory, L'Eixample

"Resident Advisor"

"Near the Parenthesis' third full-length has dragged me deep into the conundrum of interpretation. You see, much of this review is unavoidably influenced by title conditioning—the infiltration of the subconscious by the record's track names. Prior knowledge of "A Brief Walk in the Sea," for example, gestured towards a rather literal interpretation. Subsequently, the softly repeating chimes which initially drew the ear were like smears of refracted light, highlighting the surface of the waves. As the understated beats emerged from the mix, it felt as though they represented a swell of current, pulling the observer's gaze below the surface; down to a swirling, cycling mass of looping glitches and clicks manifesting as the surrounding water. As with Mountains or Epic45, whose minimalist-shoegaze approach to ambient electronica shares much in common with Near the Parenthesis, there's refreshingly little to latch on to besides the music itself. No ostentatious frontman, no lyrics, no narrative other than the self-imposed and few other factors to colour the process besides artwork and a tracklist. These, though, are enough to have an influence. And it led me to wonder, rather obsessively as it turns out, what effect a totally "clean" listen would have on an individual. When hearing the fluctuating, low-pitched tones that open "Cerda's Plan," would they too see an elongating corridor; a nervous, seated man lightly drumming his fingers as the same tones shorten and diverge into insistent patterns; muffled voices from behind a nearby door, crackling and surging into washes of distortion as their discussions reach a volatile stage? As L'Eixample is partially driven and inspired by the architectural history of Barcelona, it should be no surprise that constructed spaces arise in the imagination. But such information also has an effect. It may be Tim Arndt's intention to use "Guell" as an expression of the remarkable hues, textures and curves of Gaudi's famous park through shimmering mosaics of mechanical trills and ever-prominent piano melody. Yet would this connection have been made without guidance? To what extent does it even matter? Background detail and textual signifiers can bring a deeper, satisfying understanding of creative intent, but at the same time they risk denying the listener the unique, potentially richer, experience of a stimulus-free hearing. To that end, this review itself is a problem. Sorry about that. My suggestion is this: acquire the album, remove it from all the packaging and set it aside. Forget everything you just read. Then listen afresh to an ambient triumph." - RA, L'Eixample

"Cyclic Defrost"

"Near the Parenthesis attracted considerable critical acclaim for the 2006 debut album 'Go Out And See' on Canadian imprint Music Made By People, which focused on purely instrumental compositions equally evocative of both downbeat IDM and shoegazer slow-core rock. Given the delicate and deeply emotional nature of Arndt’s music as Near The Parenthesis, it’s certainly no surprise to see him smoothly slotting in amongst the n5MD label’s established gentle aesthetic for this second album, Of Soft Construction. Opening track ‘It’s Not Even Midnight’ provides a good taste of the sorts of delicate and melancholic moods that predominate throughout the eleven tracks collected here, with its glacially wistful opening synth pads giving way to a slow, blurred-out wash of programmed drums and subtly-placed, ebbing guitar elements; indeed, so smooth is the fusion of instrumental and synthetic elements that it calls to mind the post-rock sphere as equally as anything tagged ‘IDM.’ ‘Mare Nostrum’ meanwhile sees elegantly stark piano notes take centre stage as flickering programmed rhythms trace a path over the reverb-drenched harmonics, with the addition of feathery guitar textures and reversed / looped samples contributing a vaguely psychedelic vibe that’s nicely capped off by the sampled background chatter that flits through the mix. - CD, Of Soft Construction

"Headphone Commute"

"I'll admit that I first discovered this artist on the n5MD's One Five Zero compilation. Getting the entire album was a smart move! This carefully produced instrumental electronic album, accompanied by detailed beats and perfectly measured bass, with sweeps of transforming pads, cycling dynamics of piano, and occasional field recordings of distant voices, deliver all jonesing aspects of Electronica (is that still a genre?), placing [Near the Parenthesis], along the likes of Gridlock, Helios, Yasume, and Seven Ark. This San Francisco artist skillfully applies the formula that can never get too old for me. Just when I thought the world was drifting away from the overused elements, an album like this falls in my lap and stirs up all the good memories. For a free ride, check out NTP's contribution towards Sutemos on Intelligent Toys Vol 4. " - HC, Of Soft Construction


"Near the Parenthesis' taste for deep, layered musical compositions combined with his musical background make for soundscapes that drift between ethereal and melancholy so skillfully it's impossible to track how this artist moves from one musical point to the next, and such subtlety is likely to make him go far as a producer." - XLR8R, Go Out and See

"The Wire"

"One day soon it may be necessary to carry out a study into why so many producers hide themselves away behind some impassive, self-effacing tag. One brief glance at the sleeve is enough to reveal that the glorious colours and broad vistas on Go Out And See are the work of Near the Parenthesis, while a minute or two online will inform you that he lives in San Francisco. Maybe neither revelation gets us closer to understanding why this particular individual has such a flair for mixing field recordings of people's apparently random chatter into his subdued and dreamy compositions. But what the's a start." - The Wire, Go Out and See


Go Out and See (2006, MMBP)
Be Still (2006, Duotone)
Of Soft Construction (2007, n5MD)
L'Eixample (2008, n5MD)
From Here, For Anyone (2009, Hidden Shoal)
Music For The Forest Concourse (2010, n5MD)



Near The Parenthesis is the alias that Tim Arndt, a San Francisco-based electronic musician, utilizes for his warm electronic creations. While playing conventional instruments like piano and guitar in several bands throughout the years, Tim has continually been grounded in electronic and experimental music. After disbanding the Urban Needle project featuring Steve Mehlman (Pere Ubu) and Mark Gamiere (The Wake), he decided to go it alone and focus on full instrumental compositions. Near The Parenthesis’ music is gentle and restrained, yet deeply layered with a heavy emphasis on evolution and emotion. In 2006, Tim released “Go Out and See” on Canadian imprint Music Made By People. Go Out and See is a soulful album which feels both vaporous and heavy hearted without being sappy or academic, winning enthusiastic reviews from the likes of XLR8R, The Wire, and Textura. A follow-up EP titled "Be Still" on Japan’s Duotone records, featured 5 more of Arndt’s emotional ebb and flow compositions in limited release. In the summer of 2006, Near The Parenthesis signed on to n5MD and has released 3 albums "Of Soft Construction" (2007)., "L'Eixample" (2008), and "Music For the Forest Concourse" (2010). Arndt and his Near The Parenthesis project have come to be synonymous with n5MD in both style and quality.

Arndt is currently collaborating with Rena Jones, finishing remixes for the likes of Faded Paper Figures and Bitcrush, and finishing up work on a new LP "Japanese for Beginners".