A Sea Without Memory

David Helpling

A Sea Without Memory


A download-only release
Includes 14-page digital .pdf booklet

Clear selections & start over

FINALIST - "Best Ambient Album" - OMWR Awards
FINALIST - "Best Ambient Album" - ZMR Awards

About A Sea Without Memory


1   A Place All My Own

2   Waiting For The Wind

3   Souls In The Sky

4   Dreams Of Smoke And Mist

5   A Sea Without Memory

A Sea Without Memory is David Helpling’s first ever solo ambient guitar album. The music, created live using only electric guitar and a series of custom programmed effects processors, is the culmination of the signature ambient guitar sound he has been refining throughout his entire career.

The project began in late 2016 when, while at work on his next solo release, Helpling set aside some time to create and share weekly ambient guitar improvisations in a YouTube series he called Sunday Loops. Pure, deeply personal and heartfelt, these short, single-take vignettes have been shared with the world almost every Sunday night for nearly a full year. The response to these ambient guitar explorations has been overwhelming, and there have been many requests to release them as an official album.

However, rather than simply compiling the Sunday Loops and releasing them as a collection of stand alone tracks, there was a desire to craft a unique experience from a careful selection of the material and tell a more expansive story, so David’s friend and long time collaborator Jon Jenkins began to blend the tracks together, combining the original pieces into meaningful longer passages, and at that point the vision became clear. “After hearing what Jon had in mind for the direction of this release, I was inspired and intrigued,” David explains. “I started hearing everything as if for the first time. The story was all there, and it felt like a complete album.”

With the Sunday Loops at its core, this new release was born from a desire to step out of a comfort zone and create music without forethought or scripting. The creative process was additionally inspired by the visual images of Shawn Malone, many of which are found in the accompanying digital booklet. Helpling would imagine cold and solitary places while letting the music flow and unfold…like an aural time-lapse composition.

Helpling’s textural guitar soundscapes have become a definitive sound and something woven throughout almost all of his music, but not since the track “Loss Of Words” from his 1996 debut Between Green And Blue, has he created and released ambient guitar music as a solo presentation. “Hearing the sounds that are so personal and important to me in a fully focused long form listening experience is so powerful and exciting,” he comments. “In most of my work, ambient guitar is just one layer of many, so to have it stand alone and bring a compelling experience to the listener is a big deal. This may be the purest form of music I have ever created.”

A Sea Without Memory is a sharing, a story in watercolor told through the deep and textured hues of ambient guitar. Melancholy, shimmering and wondrous, this experience is not a journey, but rather an unfolding of events that approach, surround, then move beyond the listener, delivering a constant flow of dreamlike moments that slowly dissolve into the next wave of sound.

Be still in the space, and let A Sea Without Memory slowly color your world.



David Helpling’s new CD A Sea Without Memory is a beautiful journey that you will not want to end! Through years of studying, Spotted Peccary recording artist David Helpling has become a master of the guitar, and A Sea Without Memory is a celebration of that. Actually, master of the guitar seems a little harsh. It is more like he has created a partnership with the guitar. Through study and experimenting he has learned to make the guitar sing in a way that is so unique to David’s gentle soul and reflects David’s joy of discovery. Of discovering what his guitar can teach him and about how to put those sounds into the world to create a journey like this. David says ever since he first started playing guitar he had a particular sound in mind that he always wanted to capture and he feels as though he has finally achieved that on this album. But it has been his innate signature all along on all of his previous releases. It is something I have always looked forward to hearing through the mix of synthesizers and thunder on his solo albums and the rich collaborations with the genius that is Jon Jenkins. I think perhaps this is just the guitar’s voice alone, on it’s own, that he has been dreaming about recording all these years. It has been well worth the wait. This is a soundtrack to anywhere you want to go and if you listen to the album from start to finish you will truly come away with the feeling of having been on a journey. Every note captivates the ear and can’t help but pull you in. Every song breathes and flows like water and the voice of the guitar is transfixing. (I swear I am better oxygenated after listening to this album!) Born out of discipline, these tracks where first created by David for something he called Sunday Loops which he broadcasted on YouTube every Sunday evening. It was a way to keep himself on task to not get complacent with the guitar and to challenge his creativity. In forcing himself to create a new piece of music more or less live every Sunday he broadened his guitar vocabulary and suddenly realized he had created a soundtrack, and along the way thrilled old fans and gained new fans to his music. Although the music is entirely David alone on guitar and effects, he will be the first to say that A Sea Without Memory became a collaborative effort. From the start for added inspiration David teamed up with his friend from Marquette Michigan Shawn Malone who is a stand alone master of time-lapse photography. Each are inspired by the others work making these Sunday Loops beyond breathtaking. With positive fan feedback to this project, he decided to take these tracks to his best friend and collaborator Jon Jenkins who agreed to further the beauty of this music by producing them into this spectacular cohesive journey we have now. It is rich and layered and bright….there is magic everywhere on A Sea Without Memory. Thank you David! - Mary Bartlein, WMSE Radio
I have been listening to David’s music since I first heard Between Green and Blue way back in 1996. Every release since that time including the collaborative efforts between him and Jon Jenkins have all been albums that showed the immense talent that David possessed as every composition shined like a brightly polished diamond. This latest release which came out on July 7, 2017 is the first of what I hope will be many volumes of David’s ambient guitar music which takes our perceptions of what can be done with a guitar alone into a whole new realm.

A Sea Without Memory is an album that David created using just one guitar through some programmed pedals and recorded live to 2-track with very little processing. I know this because I asked David to confirm that it was just his guitar that I was hearing on these amazing and very expansive sounding tracks that make up the new album. And now even knowing it is just one guitar only increases my respect for what David has managed to create and record onto 2-tracks with little post processing. If you haven’t figured it out yet this is going to be a positive review of David’s new release and I hope that I haven’t given you a spoiler for the review without alerting you first.

A Sea Without Memory consists of 5 tracks with the shortest at 4:11 and the longest at 21:10 but most are over 10 minutes in length. What I love about songs like these is that their length makes them very immersive compositions and allows David to build moods and feelings over an extended period of time so that the listener can be enveloped by his rich and atmospheric soundscapes.

The overall feeling that these songs engender is that of tranquility and a peace that comes when a person allows themselves to block out everything that competes for their attention so that they can focus on what is internal rather than what is external. The songs on this album have a calming effect as they gently wash over you leaving the listener suspended in what feels like a dream but more lucid, more aware of how the ebbs and flows relate to who you are as an individual.

All the tracks on this album are exceptional pieces of music so saying that any one of them is my favorite track is next to impossible. Besides the album lives and breathes as a single organism so pulling a track of it out and examining it separately from the whole really does not yield an understanding of how the album as a whole flows or how that one track fits into the whole. So I won’t be doing that in this review. Suffice it to say that A Sea Without Memory for me stands as a whole composition not as individual tracks. David’s music does evoke natural images in my mind as I listen to the flow of this album like waves lapping on a beach somewhere or watching the sunrise or the sunset or even like the northern lights as depicted on the cover of this album. Perhaps that was David’s intention or perhaps it is my own inclination to associate some of the music that I enjoy the most with the natural world that surrounds me. The joy of art whether it is musical or visual is that the ultimate judge of what it means is each individual that is exposed to that art and how it makes them feel.

A Sea Without Memory shows forth the talent and the artistry of David Helpling and his dedication to making the best art that he possibly can. His guitar playing is always heartfelt and confident as he allows the music to flow from his inner spirit, into his guitar and then out again to be recorded for the rest of the world to hear and be amazed at. David is a consummate artist when he picks up his guitar and the memorable tracks on this album are simply further proof that he is an innovative musician with an understanding of where he has been and an eye on the future and where he wants his music to go. I find the music on this album to be very thoughtful and very moving and it certainly does not disappoint in regards to what David’s fans hope to find on one of his albums. Ambient Visions highly recommends this album. Enjoy! - Michael Foster, Ambient Visions

What I got here is a typical album of US textural guitar soundscape music using only electric guitar along a range of custom programmed effects processors to achieve an overall drifting outcome. The latter was constructed from a series of short single-take ambient guitar improvisations (Sunday Loops, started late 2016) that have been transformed into a long form listening experience with a narrative perspective by David’s friend and long time collaborator Jon Jenkins.

Well, the 67-minute "A Sea Without Memory" paints a cinematic world of tranquil, floating, cold and solitary places along introspective atmospheres all breathing expansiveness through an array of pastel colors. Simultaneously, the most relaxed ambiences found on the four lengthy pieces and one short track also address the effortless, weightless sense as found in space music.

It also makes me concur with the label description this is not a journey but rather an unfolding of events that approach, surround, then move beyond the listener, delivering a constant flow of dreamlike moments that slowly dissolve into the next wave of sound. Grab a wave, drift off and immerse!

- Bert Strolenberg, SonicImmersion.org
Created using only an electric guitar routed through a series of effects processors, this solo ambient guitar album is spacious, soothing, expansive and ethereal. Multiple layers of guitar drones and notes effortlessly weave together creating an immersive soundtrack for a slow or meditative yoga practice. - Timothy Burgin, YogaBasics.com
I was first turned on to David Helpling through some kind of if you like this, you might like that feature on an Internet-based music listening service. It’s hard to remember how all of the dots connected over the past decade or so. The two albums he made with collaborator Jon Jenkins, The Crossing (2010) and Found (2013), ended up on heavy rotation for me, especially when the time of day calls for something ambient, but still requires energy and movement. Both albums are quite cinematic and while they’re filled with dreamy and ethereal sounds, they play like great movie soundtracks. I kept those two albums on my radar over the years but never dug too deeply into the artists’ stories until recently, when I wasn’t surprised to learn that Helpling does do a lot of film soundtrack work. In 2017, Helpling released A Sea Without Memory, a five-song ambient guitar record with a running time that exceeds an hour. It has become a favorite go-to morning album for easing me into a new day. Although this album was co-produced by Jon Jenkins, A Sea Without Memory is more ambient, more ethereal, and more hypnotic than their previous collaboration albums. He uses his signature guitar tones that are completely recognizable throughout all of his work to create slow, beautiful, and repetitive soundscapes that evolve slowly, allowing you to really get lost in the sounds. This album is highly recommended for anyone interested in incredibly relaxing and meditative moments. - Jason Mundok, Sixth Floor

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