Posts Tagged ‘dream pop’

Tambourine Machine – 20th November 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Nine years on from their inception, and seven years since their last release, Epilogues return from hiatus with a brace of new EPs, simply entitled ‘me’ and ‘you’. Mikey Donnelly has been keeping occupied, recently working solo as miles. and alongside his brother, Joey, who goes by elk.

If the title sounds like this is an exercise in narcissistic, egotistical self-indulgence, you’d be way, way off the mark: yes, Donnelly’s primary focus is himself, but this is a work of deep introspection and is one of those magical moments of fine artistry where the artist finds universality in the personal.

The recording is intimate, close-up, and you can hear every last breath, every scratch and scrape of finger on string and fretboard. The instrumentation is simple, essentially acoustic guitar and voice, with occasional incidentals so subtle as to be barely there. There is nowhere to hide, and that’s largely the point: this is a set of songs that explores identity and picks it apart unsparingly.

In the opening lines of ‘Me’ he sings, quietly, ‘Hello again; it’s me / At least I think that’s who I’m wearing; my character this week’, as he begins to lay himself bare, pulling back the layers of the onion to reveal a fragile core.

A softly quavering ambient drone marks the understated arrival of ‘Two Weeks’, a song so quietly mournful and reflective, and if one applauds the bravery of a statement which says, unashamedly ‘this is me, with all my flaws’, then it’s perhaps even bolder and more powerful to find an artist turning it around and asking ‘who is ‘me’?’. And here, Donnelly succeeds in bringing the two together, taking the listener on a journey that both questions and answers.

Donnelly is, it has to be said, a remarkably eloquent lyricist, each line adeptly spun with a rare poeticism: it’s rare to find a record where simply reading the words on the page is a moving experience.

The final song, ‘The Gap’ begins in typically hushed, reflective style, buy blossoms into a full-band finale, with drums, bass, and chiming guitar as Mikey sings out the refrain, and suddenly, he emerges from the shadows and into the light. For all the rust and dust, death and decay, there is hope and optimism.

   AA

Epilogues - Me

Click on the image to listen.

If a musician’s creative output is intrinsically linked to the journey that brought them to that point then it is hardly surprising that Discolor Blind’s debut EP Long Vivid Dream is a mercurial blend of flavours and genres. The journey taken by frontman Askhan Malayeri has been one that has taken him from his native Tehran to Cambridge and London and then across the Atlantic to Canada, where he established his own studio and began pulling together all of the ideas that would weave together as his first significant release.

The first single from the EP is ‘Black and Grey’, a song shot through with the melancholia and angst that crept in from the cold Canadian winters he now found himself acclimatising to. But it also sums up the myriad textures found on the record, a mix of chilled and measured washes, which are used as platforms for more intricate sounds from raw guitars and plaintive pianos to pop beats and even sultry jazz grooves.

It’s a subtle, moody song, and while we’re not huge fans of lyric videos as a thing here at AA, this one at least has some compelling visuals accompanying a truly magical tune. Watch it here:

Monika Enterprise – monika87 – 27th May 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

The enigmatic Natalie Beridze’s latest album is accompanied by an appropriately enigmatic blurb, which references clouds, un and weightlessness. Such abstraction is entirely appropriate for an album that crates a blur of sonic abstraction and is housed in a cover which features artwork which is far from figurative. What does it all mean? Is it a dream? A hallucination? A mirage? Is it even real? Perhaps, perhaps not: it matters little. To capture and confine the material on Guliagava is more or less impossible. Every moment is fleeting, ephemeral. But then, to attempt to capture the moment would be to spoil the effect, and to diminish its power. It’s not about freezing the moment, but living in it.

The woozy, languid sensuality of ‘For Love’ possesses a smoky, opiate dreaminess. Soft-focus, rolling basslines undulate across stuttering, glitchy beats and gauze-like synths which spiral and drift. There’s a lot of space, a lot of smoke and mirrors as the sound reflect and refract to create strange, dislocated soundtracks. The howling metallic scrapes that open ‘Light is Winning’ give way to a dark, murky and menacing bassline and thunderous bass beats. If light is winning, it’s only just got the edge in what appears to be a truly monumental battle. ‘Natalie whispers, half seductive, half threatening, certain but uncertain: ‘Words, emotions, water, sweat / into the void / In outer space / Once there was only dark / But if u ask me / The light is winning.’

Chiming cadences emerge from within wispy, cloud-like atmospheres. But a deep, penetrating blast heralds the arrival of ‘Tore Up All My Maps’, a track built on the juxtaposition of mellow but taut vocals and a frenetic, heavy-duty drum ‘n’ bass rhythm. The shimmering glimmer of ‘Docha with Fading Grey’ is corrupted by the scratching of surface decay, a sonic rust misting the surface.

The soft vinyl-like crackle that casts a sheen over ‘Opening Night’ evokes a nostalgia not for vinyl, but for the heritage of vinyl, the subconscious yearning for another age, a pre-digital age. What precisely is it that one finds oneself pining for? It is, of course, something undefinable, vague – and it stands as a fair analogy for the experience of listening to this album, in that there’s an inescapable sense of the intangible, the unreachable.

The textures Beridze creates, and the way she contrasts them, are magnificent, making Guliagava an evocative, haunting album heavy with implicit meaning and resonance.

 

Natalie Beridze - Guligava

Natalie Beridze Online