Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
A fusion of musical styles is often a temperamental and unyielding beast. Artists strive to come out scratch-free, utilising both or all of the genres more powerful characteristics, and leaving behind the more flawed and cliched ones. Vaporwave has an advantage over many as it’s persona is in no way a solid object. It behaves more like an amorphous substance clinging to whatever it is made to and obscuring the source material in an interesting and enticing manner. w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま new release seems to straddle a centre ground between vaporwave and post-black metal. Though some may point to a genre like dungeon synth as the offspring of these two genres, w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま does something that dives much deeper than any of the aforementioned genres.
f a l l i n g is our first introduction to H Y M N. We immediately start with crystal notes echoing out above a heavy, rapid salvo of bassline fire. The robotic drum sound is something to get used to as it cycles through heavy 16th based rhythms with an inhuman speed and accuracy. The bass drives the rhythm of the song. Every now and again shifting into another rate and creating that fantastic shift in pace and percussion. Disembodied voices float around the stereo field like lost souls in some twisted funhouse. Everything is pristine in sound, left unhindered by distortion or gain. The unrelenting percussive elements feed the sense of steady, quickening rhythm. A welcome that takes the listener a while to get used to, but that sees w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま introduce the unique EP in a confident manner.
h i m begins with vocal samples that are half some slick r&b song and half moans from the hallowed corridors of a dark dungeon. Twinkling bells and clean synth notes swirl around as the automated drums set out a less straightforward rhythm than before. The elements of each track sound almost separated from each other. In some trick of the mastering, we listen to a song that feels part-deconstructed. Birdsong appears very explicitly above and around us, completely untouched by any other proceedings. Though the percussion does control a great deal of the sound, it does not overpower anything. w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま’s choice of sample is engaging, an indication to how the artist has pulled from a great many music genres in order to achieve the inventive track listing.
i n f e c t i o u s kicks off in a light plume of smoke from rising sound effects and keys that sound like their on the edge of a nervous breakdown. The bass and drums play this fantastic game of tag with each other, the awesome rhythm of the drums being matched by the slower but more commanding bassline. Everything cuts and the thick sound of plucked string-work fills the scene, a beautifully emotive riff cut short in order for the artist to throw us back into the onslaught of drums. After a while we come back out into the clearing, this time greeted with samples made to sound like laboured breathing and random cuttings of words and phrases. After a while, the two join together in a fast-paced and energetic embrace. w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま seems to understand fully how to structure such a crescendo as the drums gasp for life under climactic pressure, everything builds beautifully whilst keeping this skeletal structure.
v a i l begins with gentle strings easing themselves into the foreground. A gothic lament ensues, fit with dramatic crashes of toms and cymbals. Somehow, even in this very natural section, w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま holds something from the mix to make it sound human. It almost sounds like a supercomputer reciting one of the old, great composers in a destitute and empty world. Strings begin to strain and show their artificiality under pitch bend mechanics. The intricately moving drums begin, the bassline guiding almost everything. The same melancholic, empty sound is played with. Bells ring out past the stuttering drumbeats. Another section starts with revolving bells sounding against the backdrop of phasing synths. We are seen out with the same lamenting energy as the section previous.
w o v e n begins with a guitar line completely knocked from its usual tuneful self. The notes sound slightly off and wavering in some moonlight haze. The steady bass drum and hi-hat rhythms begin as the guitar melody reverberates around the stereo field. The following section drops out the continuous rhythm and let’s another set of disembodied voices take the reigns of the track. Their melodic efforts haunt the middle frequencies of the track. Again, w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま picks his moments carefully, switching up the sound as we move into a descending section. A beautiful pipe comes to the fore, charming some sort of beast from the nether regions of the soul. Everything is still clean, even this exceptional track is tarnished with absolutely nothing as it drags us through these strange labyrinthine sections. The plucked strings seem to fizzle against a grey, stone floor. The last track, though long, is a delight to listen to in its entirety. w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま takes us for one last ghost train ride through the strange world he has created.
H Y M N moves like Frankenstein. The parts of a fully formed track are there. But with surgical tools in hand, w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま dissects and separates the body from itself in such a way that attempting to label it under a movement or genre becomes a real challenge. Unique in its aesthetic and it’s balance, H Y M N joins the echelons of 2019 releases that pushed incredibly hard to be engaging and inventive.
Listen in full/purchase here: https://geometriclullaby.bandcamp.com/album/h-y-m-n