San Francisco-based musician Tim Arndt makes warm, emotive electronic music under the name Near the Parenthesis. His reflective, expressive melodies, usually created by pianos or guitars, are often underpinned by heavily detailed beats and glitches, as well as field recordings and sampled voices. His music impressively achieves a duality between relaxation and excitement, balancing comforting ambience with wistful melodies and intricate production.
Arndt began Near the Parenthesis in 2005 after spending several years playing in various rock groups. His debut album, Go Out and See, was released in 2006 by Canadian label Music Made by People, and it received acclaim from publications such as XLR8R and The Wire. A limited EP titled Be Still followed on Japanese label Duotone Records, and Near the Parenthesis was quickly signed by Mike Cadoo's n5MD, a label with an extensive catalog of similarly lush, cerebral ambient music and IDM. 2007's Of Soft Construction was Near the Parenthesis' debut for the label, followed by 2008's L'Eixample, an album inspired by modernist architecture in Barcelona. The album placed more of an emphasis on shimmering piano melodies and less focus on glitchy beats than his previous releases.
In 2009, Arndt collaborated with Medard Fischer (aka n5MD labelmate Arc Lab) for a side project called Down Review. The duo's EP From Here, For Anyone, released by the Hidden Shoal label, recalled the intricate beat constructions of Arndt's earlier Near the Parenthesis work. The fourth NtP full-length, 2010's Music for the Forest Concourse, was the project's least electronic recording yet, but it still contained complex arrangements and electronic editing. 2011's Japanese for Beginners was designed as a bit of a return to more detailed programming, but contained rich, upfront piano melodies. The full-length was swiftly followed by The Near Pairing Thesis, a free digital EP containing stripped-down piano reworks of songs from his previous albums. 2014 full-length Cloud.Not Mountain tipped the focus back to electronics again, with more fractured beats and sparser, less enveloping melodies than his past work. In 2016, Arndt released Helical, a stripped-down ambient album he had originally envisioned as the follow-up to his debut a decade earlier. ~ Paul Simpson