Ambient Composer Six Missing Announces Forthcoming Album With New Single “Always”; Signs to Nettwerk
October 20, 2023 BY Emma Orland
Today, Austin-based ambient producer + composer TJ Dumser who releases under the moniker Six Missing announces his signing to Nettwerk and a new album Here For Now due out December 15th. The twelve-song effort includes a new song out today, “Always.” The song brings listeners into a cavernous soundscape with a mystical blend of earthy acoustics and cloudy synths that swirl and build to the song’s peak. Listen to “Always” on all digital retailers (here).
“Always” was originally composed back in 2022 during a live exploratory improvised performance on the modular system. Revisiting it, TJ captured it on cassette and manipulated the speed upon playback and re-capture to Ableton. “Since the cassette can be so unstable, I had to ‘tune’ the playback speed with a piano note to ensure I would be able to track on it,” he explains.
LISTEN & SHARE SIX MISSING “ALWAYS” HERE:
Sometimes we need music that stops us in our tracks and reminds us to connect with the moment we’re currently experiencing, and that’s exactly what Six Missing provides on Here For Now. The new album from ambient artist TJ Dumser is a reflection not only on our current life and times but the totality of existence itself—what it means to face true transience in an ever-changing world, and how to welcome impermanence as its own holistic virtue. These twelve musical pieces are all-encompassing in their beautiful ability to fill every inch of sonic space in their surroundings, composed with a lushness and an intuitive touch that only a truly thoughtful soul such as Dumser could provide.
Here For Now is the latest adventurous work from the Austin-based Dumser, who was raised in upstate New York and has been playing music since he could fit an instrument in his hands. After spending adolescence and young adulthood gigging in a rock band around the NYC scene, Dumser eventually arrived at the revelation that he yearned to move on from the “rigid structure” that being in a traditional band enforced. “I wanted to break out of doing rehearsed performances,” he explains. “I got as experimental as I possibly could and started making ambient loops with guitar effects.”
As Dumser started to explore this new creative side of himself, he began releasing music under the name Six Missing in 2017—a moniker that possesses a literally otherworldly meaning to him. “One of our members had a studio in Pennsylvania, and one of the weekends we’d been out there we were recording for fourteen hours and were exhausted,” he recalls on the incident that inspired him to take on the namesake. “We went back to the cabin, everybody went to bed, and I heard the front door to the cabin open. As I went to see what it was, I was frozen and felt this searing pain in my back, as well as an endless sadness. I was having a supernatural experience, and it really shook me.”
Further research revealed that the cabin was near the site of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brandywine, in which six participants still remain unaccounted for—and, when combined with Dumser’s hair-raising experience, the name Six Missing came to be. “I thought it was a great way to pay tribute to that experience, which had this supernatural tilt that was also in touch with the human experience,” he explains. “It’s what I aim to do with this project in general—to usher people to go beyond what our day-to-day life looks like.”
The follow-up to last year’s Moods, Which, Here For Now is comprised of what Dumser refers to as “musical compost” — a concept that isn’t nearly as derogatorily gesturing towards the material as it sounds. “It’s a bunch of work that I’d previously done that I’d set out to release in its form, but something didn’t feel totally right,” Dumser reflects while talking about how Here For Now came to be. “It felt like I could do better by the material, so I put all of it on the digital shelf and kept coming back to it when I felt inspired. What resulted was work that was much more honest and aligned with who I was as a musician, encompassing my whole journey from a guitar-based musician to the music I make today.”
Thematically, Here For Now reflects Dumser’s own recent displacement as well as the perpetual shifts the world has undergone over the last several years. “My wife and I kept having these conversations about ‘Next steps,’ and I was able to find calm in the chaos by saying, ‘We’re just here for now.’” he explains. “It works well in meditation practice, which I really believe in, and as clichéd as it sounds, it’s necessary to be reminded to live in the now. Our minds can run ahead of us, so you need to be brought back and anchored in the present.”
With frissons of synth orbiting a truly celestial cloud of tones, first single “Waves” is indicative of Dumser’s largely improvisational writing process as well as his desire to blend the creative energies of man and machine: “I’m not the type of songwriter that wakes up with songs in their head,” he explains. “I need to react to something, and when I’m working by myself with machines that take inputs, they are almost like a songwriting companion. For this track, I wanted to blend in a human element of an acoustic guitar, which was my way of putting a human voice back in the realm of the synthesized.”
Clouds of drama form above the framework of “Possibility,” recalling Tim Hecker’s sense of gorgeous dread—while centerpiece “Always” is dotted with field recordings, strums of guitar, and lovely synth curlicues not unlike ambient-noise iconoclasts Emeralds’ major-key work. The track, as Dumser puts it, is “A perfect snapshot of me and my journey up to this point. It’s a sunnier sound for me, which is something I’ve been playing around with—the idea of doing something ‘for now,’ and trying out new ideas in the moment to see how I’m creatively feeling.”
It’s that notion of presence that acts as a thematic anchor for Here For Now, and the music embodies Dumser’s own sense of patience—resulting in a work that always feels flesh and blood, transcending notions of what listeners might come to expect from some strains of ambient music. “This record is a reminder to myself and others that you need to be patient and kind with yourself,” he reflects while talking about this moment in his career as Six Missing. “You don’t just throw parts of you away, you work with them and see where they go when you let them grow. It’s important to allow the vulnerable artist inside of you time to do what it needs to do.”
SIX MISSING IN THE PRESS…
“…a meditative quality… the musician dwells in calmer climes, using subtlety as a means of expression.”
“…poetic… effortlessly escorting listeners…”
“…a full on integrative experience… a truly stunning piece of ambient music…”
– Tome To the Weather Machine
Here For Now
December 15, 2023
Nettwerk Music Group