Wednesday, 31 August 2011

REVIEW: Evenings - Lately

Twilight descends once more, cast from the speakers in long drawn shadows, the light of the fading sun flickering across the room in its own . I've had the previous Evenings release, North Dorm ep on repeat since Nathan Broadus put it out last summer. It says a lot for the tenacity of the atmosphere he creates that I've been playing those five songs for ove a year and still haven't tired of them. It wouldn't be quite appropriate to say it's been a long wait because I've been so immersed in that release that I haven't really yearned for anything else from him, though often wondered how he would develop his sounds. This new release exceeds and confounds any expectations I had.  This has been out a couple of weeks now and has been subtly dominating my stereo.  Focussing on the ambient elements, losing the chillwave-comedown beats and bouyant patterns in favour of pure evocative vignettes, it is a romantic slowdance of an album that slowly bleeds into the darkest corners of consciousness inducing hypnagogic states and daydream paralysis.

gently winds up with a music-box introduction that sets the scene for that half-asleep fabricated memory nostalgia that H-Pop is famous for, yet presenting it with a clear-eyed production that still somehow manages to retain all that hazy mugginess and an intimacy that makes you want to get even closer into it, let all those bulging bass bubbles surround you, swim your prone body trance-like through the amniotic pulses.   There are snatches of vocals, beyond disembodied, barely human; a snatch of a laugh in Genève; in Lo-Vélo amongst the trembling melody they appear out the other side of elegent and ethereal, descending from an angelic plane, falling from the sky through the earth into a watery realm, through male and female, through refracted lights and colours; in [I] Softly We Go they are shapeshifted into avian coos; then the finale of [Lately] See You Soon brings in piano and a completely compressed voice that sounds like the softest pecussion to match the beautiful key note impact of padded hammer on string.

The track titles are all punctuated, accented, distorted and minimised. Not in a Witch House way, more of a Warp/Rephlex kind of abstracted yet almost meaningfully ambiguous fashion. It adds an aesthetic that worked well for Aphex Twin and it works here.  The track lengths are equally erractic, the brief //// an 8-second murmer betwen two 3-minute pieces, there's an 8-minute micro-epic that begins with the sounds of the sea.  It's actually a very rare and refreshing thing to see an artist capable of allowing the songs to develop and conclude within their own worlds; it suggests music dictated to the artist through the virtues of their own existance. Absolutely nothing of this album feels forced and that's a small but no means insignificant illustration of it.

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