Stephen Hitchell (Intrusion, Echospace, cv313) delivers a serious treat for his legion of devoted followers with the next logical step in the Echospace saga leading to this release exploring sublime ambient electronics in a textured, analog style. As Variant, Hitchell delves into his most expansive and inspiring palette, layering materials onto his canvas with a widescreen scope and an emotionally-affected, cinematic intent that makes this a deeply engrossing listen. Made for an obviously specific time and place, "The Setting Sun" marks a shift in Hitchell's work, sounding more like Oren Ambarchi or Keith Fullerton Whitman than any of the more familiar names his work has been associated with in the past. Incorporating resonant pianos, hazily thrummed guitars and swelling organs with rippling waves of curling analog distortion, this is surely one of the most outstanding pieces in his catalog. "As Time Stood Still" features a deeply-padded flow of ebbing atmospherics, lapping every intangible surface of the womb-like sub-bass-bubble that Hitchell creates with a concoction of vintage analog hardware and reel-to-reel recording techniques. All taken together, The Setting Sun sounds like the slow inhalation and exhalation of deep, meditative breathing, or like rain falling from a grey sky. This is a hugely involving listen that will appeal to followers of Tim Hecker AND Basic Channel, or Vladislav Delay AND Oren Ambarchi.