Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
SAME FORECAST AS YESTERDAY‘s introduction wades into view like the incessant foghorn of a distant oil tanker off of misty shores. Fuzz and noise flutter about like magnetised debris, attracted to the slow moving sound. Certain parts of the wall of sound already created begin to reverberate, to appear more distinct than others. But largely, SELVEDGE warms us with a wash of mellow, resonant tones, setting out a distinct and more laidback effect than previous releases. In the small amount of melody displayed within the thicket of sound, there’s no clear resolution. A low tone stays resolute, whilst higher, more gossamer notes push through occasionally, but the feeling is largely static. This is until toward the end, when a plethora of resolving notes rush toward the centre of the mix, this is followed by clearer, echoing choirs hidden just under the tumult of muddied sounds.
I HATE WINTER I steps out in a more confident manner. A scale of dripping notes lifts upwards in pitch, a slowly phasing and wavering note as its basis. There is a lulling quality to the track, the gentle swaying of the notes with a texture of crystal-like transparency. A deep, rumbling collection of notes begins to poke its head out beneath the high-pitched melody. It disappears fairly swiftly, as SELVEDGE keeps the listener’s focus on the slow and graceful cavorting of the tinnier melody. More detailed sound begins to erupt from behind the ever present scale, but falls back into silence shielding itself from the glare of the track’s limelight.
I HATE WINTER II diverts from this sound, as a haunting melody snakes through an empty soundscape. SELVEDGE pushes the track forward with a pleasing, breathy chord, giving this solitary synth sound purpose and direction. After a while, the sound unfurls into a shimmering group of notes that rise in frequency as they are pushed gently into the mix. The track is eerie, shifting the mood from the first part drastically. Though there are some sequences worked into the pulses of music that prove calming and somnambulistic.
BUT I LOVE A GOOD SNOW begins with a classical sensibility. Large swathes of pad sound career from one side to the other as a three-pronged arpeggiation begins to splutter to life. The calculated order of notes begins to expand as SELVEDGE reaching up to higher and more esoteric parts to the sequence. This gives the swelling pads a chance to push forward too, every so often the thick gauze of mellow sound slowly floating upwards into focus. The arpeggiating sound is solid almost clumsy in contrast to the smooth, flowing pad sounds. As we reach towards the track’s conclusion, it dips down into a more minor sound. There’s a brisk coldness that emanates from the song, the pads sound as though they are trapped, producing a muffled gurgling from under a sheet of ice. The slow arpeggiator provides the main focus, as it apprehensively skips across the uncertain ground that rumbles underneath.
A slightly distorted note fizzles into view on PORTABLE JUMP STARTER. Its slight reverberations suggesting another quiet, empty atmosphere. Sultry pads fade in as the calculated sounds of the melodic sequence take a more commanding role than the track before. Bells scatter about in a uniform array, reaching up sporadically with fragile, tinny notes. SELVEDGE bathes everything in this comforting swathe that seems to hang in the air like a glowing mist.
The last half of WARM ENOUGH comes under the same title, split into five separate sections. LONG THAW I in all respects, sounds like the steady unfreezing of some living creature. The sunlight gracing the fringes of ice that encapsulate whatever is trapped within. SELVEDGE captures the sound of the melting in shivering synth pads.
A great pandiculation as we enter the second stage. Long, throbbing pad sounds push out slowly, the resonant warbling large and lethargic. An organic sound pushes out further than the others, cutting a confident stride. Its demeanour is one of progression, of optimism in the beaming morning sun. A collection of augmenting tones begin to crowd the front of the mix, smouldering with a heat that comforts the listener. SELVEDGE presents this environment of homeliness, whilst also conveying the brisk cold that exists outside of the music we are hearing.
The artist reintroduces those feelings of harrowing suspense at the very beginning of the third act. It feels that the creature that was encased by ice was less familiar than we thought. SELVEDGE sends dissonant pads out that conjure up images of a sickly green glow. The conveyance of the creature is tenebrous, cloaked in obscuring folds of light and darkness. Every so often a curious wobbling sound slips out of the cacophony of wailing, like some strange, otherworldly limb flailing in the gloom.
LONG THAW IV cuts a calmer but no less suspenseful tone. The sounds that SELVEDGE employs infer dusk has past. It’s that silent section of the middle of the night, as creatures sound off somewhere in the distance. A strange sound transmits a coded rhythm out into the open air. The code evidently reaches something reciprocal as a shroud of low notes are breathed into the space by the artist, even the birds and animals we can hear chirruping begin to morph and warp in the hazy green glow that starts to be emitted. Sounds stretch and falter slightly as they are transformed, SELVEDGE sending a wave of manipulating effects over the dense forest that has been laid out. Under this odd and alien situation, more noise begins to rumble, as what sounds like a metallic structure begins to open up underneath the ground. It almost sounds like old, fanfare music playing through tinny speakers. But the artist does just enough to keep it obscured and ominous.
Feelings of extraterrestrial peculiarity are swiped away as the finale of this five part movement begins with organic sounding strings and throbbing pads. The emotive nature of the sounds contrast the weirdness of the tracks directly before. A screaming high pitched note sings out above the revolving sounds, the sun beginning to light up the sky, exorcising the darkness and damp. The note grows, pulsing with a distinct rhythm. SELVEDGE suddenly lifts the dark rumbling notes upward, the ground beneath us lifting to greet the emerging brightness. The sun swirls in the sky, sending dashes of light out that ignite the blackness like some expressionist painting. And just as we welcome the start of a new day, the image fades abruptly as WARM ENOUGH comes to a close.
Though the experience of SELVEDGE’s latest excursion is a markedly different style than the chaotic, energetic releases that have come before, the artist wastes none of the focus and concentration displayed previously. Instead the skills that went into creating panicked and frantic experiences now feed into a work that moves from warm, glowing ambience to otherworldly trips into abnormal and intimidating environments.