As Beacon Sound enters its tenth year as a label, the label's first release of 2023, by Cincinnati-based composer Tristan Eckerson, represents a change of palette for both label and artist, and a blissfully meditative one at that. Journey Test is Eckerson's first album under the moniker Purple Decades and his first foray into immersive ambient music. While Tristan's past work has focused largely on solo piano, his Purple Decades project is an exploration into soundscapes, electronic textures, and immersive musical environments. While many tracks on the album still feature piano or keyboards in some form, the compositional approach is accompanied by extensive work with reverb, foley, and orchestral electronic arrangements, and some tracks have eschewed the piano completely, opting instead for immersive and texturally rich auditory journeys. Each of the eight songs on Journey Test convey a sense of serene movement and cinematic scale, conjuring the horizon line of landscapes both distant and internal, a wordless dialectic between contentment and nostalgia. Tracks like the piano-driven "Kagami" and the slow-building title track (whose crescendo brings to mind Sigur Ros) emphasize beguiling and cyclical melodies while "Pathway" leavens the mood with a glacial sweep, all the while drinking from the same sense of wonder and openness that pervades the entire album. By the time "A Strange Dream" comes along to pull the curtain closed, the listener may be nagged by the sensation that something has been lost as well as gained along the way, that perhaps you've been leaning into the dying of the light all along -- a strange dream indeed, one that never turns dour as it weaves its tale of light and shadow. In the artist's own words: "After many years of writing nothing but music for solo piano, I was ready for something new when I began the process of creating Journey Test. I wanted to take the same vibe and overall aesthetic that I had created with my solo piano work, but really strip down the compositional approach into something that focused on the sound itself. Basically, bringing the background to the forefront. And instead of traditional instruments, I wanted to use electronic sounds, but still in a way that it sounded very organic, almost to the point where you didn't know if you were listening to an orchestra or a bunch of synthesizers. I didn't use a lot of different electronic instruments for the album, but rather I focused on what each instrument could bring to the table in terms of texture, noise, organic sounds, and subtle details..." RIYL: A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Helios, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jon Hopkins, Oneohtrix Point Never.