21 May 2012

Swartz et - nighttide (Utter East, 2010)

Years ago, I've been listening to two previous projects of Steve Swartz, Au Revoir Borealis and For Wishes, enjoying certain tracks but without feeling overwhelmed and deeply captivated. Still behing the invisible limit.

His debut album as Swartz et appears rapidly to be something much more vital and deeply personal. It is not intended to seduce as a first motive, just like if stepping down from indie ambitions would finally have led to the real need to write and record music, reching authenticity and grace.

The real basics of life are finally feeding the essence of this record, friends or relatives, work (as a sound engineer) and obsessions. "Nighttide" is dedicated to his young daughter and was conceived in high resolution audio.

It is not such an absolute groundbreaking record and you could just fail to notice it and going on your musical quest. It's success is to stay somewhere between the ambient drone scene and the more or less loosely connected family of bands found which was formed by Labradford, Zelienople, Landing, Roy Montgomery or Windy & Carl.

"Nighttide" definitely belongs to the night, it's like laying on the beach, on the bed, waiting for sleep waves, in a quiet nightly atmosphere, letting your consciousness slowly disintegrate.  These compositions belong to these mysterious minutes, where you'll drop you attention and close your eyes, keeping the stimuli of your environment to a minimum.

This record is an invitation to disconnect, and certain tracks more than others. My highlight and entry is "Late Machines", warm and comforting, like stretching up you your limbs and yawning in a catlike way.

"Mercy Lights" is a sort of sedimentation of the day you've been through, quietening down, preparing the ground level where dreams will arise. "Midday Bells" would be  something like a survey of all your expectations and how step by step they would potentially occur, as a positive vision of a future.

"Curtains" reminds me of hot and uneasy summer nights when suddenly a break in the continuity of weather brings you a refreshing night breeze, announcing an appeasing relief, and you fill your lungs knowing that such air will offer you the best sleep conditions. "Night Ships" is the transcription of a dream not so far of Labradford and 1 Mile North.

The solar quality of "Sympathetic Strings" is totally enthralling, waking up progressively under bright morning light piercing fog layers. Until you open your eyes, embracing the plenitude of dawn, "The Blue Light of Morning". 

The only fact which seems off-key for me on this record is that it starts with the three darkest and coldest compositions, "Warm Current", "Dinghy" and "It Glimmers Through The Snow", which I don"t really enjoy. Besides that the progression of the next six tracks is simply spectacular. Recommended.



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