Break_Fold – This Was Forever

Posted: 1 March 2023 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , ,

3rd March 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

Where does the time go? I type this with a rising panic in my chest, the same one which kicks me awake at 5:30 most mornings. I may often panic about the mounting chores and deadlines, the crumbling state of my house and cost for repairs, but mostly I panic about time and its passage. How is it 2023? How is it March already?

However much time you think you have, you always have so much less.

And so the arrival of the new break_fold album is something which both elates and trips me. It’s been six years almost to the month since the first break_fold release, 07_07_15 – 13_04_16 , which in turns reminds me it was thirteen years since Tim Hann’s previous musical venture, I Concur, were an active band. What happened? The simple answer is, of course, life. It happens when you’re not looking. It’s hard not to feel nostalgic for that time: it was a period of discovery. The Brudenell was still emerging as a venue, and putting on lots of local acts, and at the launch of their debut album, I Concur sounded immense, like they could be the next U2 – only not cocks and unencumbered by a Bono, of course. You get the idea. They were just SO good. But then… life. It gets ahead of you.

Tim Hann has been tinkering as break_fold for a while now, because ultimately creatives can’t simply stop creating, even if it’s at night working in the cupboard under the stairs or the shed. You can’t help it. However tired you are from work, life, parenting, there’s an itch that can’t be scratched any other way, and ultimately, it has to be done.

And it’s been done nicely here, a year on from the release of the single ‘Welwala’, which features on This Was Forever and again, I have to pinch myself. Again, a year already?

The title – and perhaps it’s just me – bears an element of melancholy. It was forever, but now…? Well, nothing is forever, and the realisation that something forever has a finite existence is something sad and regrettable. The title track spins together shimmering top synths over stuttering beats and rolling mid-range create a dynamic tension and a certain sense of drama.

This Was Forever is a set of solid instrumental electro with some deep grooves and some dark, jittering moments. It is, overall, easy on the ear, ‘Everything Affects Everything’ mines a dark seem that’s pure 80s movie soundtrack. Indeed, the vibe is strongly eighties for the most part, not least of all with the cracking snare sounds that drive some of the faster pieces – but then again, this type of one-man synth-based style is ultimately contemporary, possible due to the wealth of inexpensive software that has meant that making music is possible for anyone with a laptop. But with such availability, it means you have to be good to stand out. And break_fold’s output showcases Hann’s ear for atmosphere, for range, for texture and form.

‘Welwala’ is one of the album’s standouts, and packs some energy in a track that’s actually danceable, if you’re that way inclined. It’s a solid, meaty groove. Grooves and beats are perhaps the defining feature of This Was Forever, with the murky undercurrents of ‘Did I Say it or Just Think it?’ landing in the space between latter-day Depeche Mode and Ghosts-era Nine Inch Nails. At the lighter end of the scale is the buoyant ‘Mishby’ which bounces along in an overtly synthy-piano way, with the beats backed off a way.

This Was Forever is the kind of album you could pop on while working without getting distracted by it – and sometimes, that’s just the kind of album you need.



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