Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
One of the things that is most impressive about desert sand feels warm at night is their ability convey a varied selection of moods without seeming tied together haphazardly. The warm swell of the opening track feels heavy with a smouldering saxophone. However the two following tracks convey a more surreal atmosphere. 長い道のり (Long way to go) drags its feet with this fluttering percussion that shuffles behind ominous spaced out piano notes. Whereas the third track delivers a cool and collected experience, fit with effortless electronic key melodies and vocals that seem to call out from deep down a strange velvet corridor. Though the tracks pull in different directions, we slide into each one fairly easily.
As we traverse through the album, we get a great impression of the artist’s talent in encasing vocal performances in gossamer layers of melody and percussion. The singers perform on a gentle breeze. The vocal melodies appear as the focal point, but are also beset with a ghostly fog that obscures them from a clear delivery. It is this that remains one of the most interesting aspects of desert sand feels warm at night‘s material. As a listener we are never sure whether we watch the performance of supernatural apparitions, or whether there are other actual people inhabiting the swirling space we stand in. 爽快 (Refreshing) is a shining example of this haunting beauty. It is like gliding through a great majestic ballroom, searching after mirages of figures, all soundtracked by a constantly shrouded band that shift and evaporate. The vocals are wonderful, but they delve into a register that seems too low for the singer, impressing this supernatural quality on the track.
If the preceding track took place in a grand ballroom, 未来を吸い込む (Inhale the future) sounds like it emanates from some unending valley, whispered voices float past us before dissipating into the vapour all around. The percussion moves like mist around our feet, as pulses of sadness bloom in colours on the strange blanket of obscuring grey.
The tracks themselves are similar to cuts you might hear in a fantastical film about a great adventure, full of twilight melodies and sparkling bells. Yet everything is dragged down in pitch and ladened with that mystifying mix of phase and delay. That starry-eyed quality is therefore a little off kilter, appearing duller and more shadowy than it would in a bright and feel-good filmic venture. Not every track is dependent on its emotive melodies. 一歩前進する (Take a step forward) pushes a calm and determined momentum through incessant kick drums and gurgling toms, only occasionally accented by faraway guitars and strange sparse vocals. After a while, the confidence of the percussion is met with a wonderfully 80s guitar sequence that brings the track careering into a plume of music and song.
What is consistently striking about the artist’s work that is illustrated a great deal on ユートピアへの旅 is the structural precision of each track. We get lost in a torrent of chords and cymbals only for it to suddenly all sweep away as we realise it was merely the introduction to the verse of the track. Some tracks are undoubtedly a continuous spiral into euphoria, but some are solidly structured with verse and chorus clearly signposted. But even in simple song formations, the artist does their best to lose us in the rhapsodical corridors and winding pathways.
Though it feels like we enter into another seemingly endless landscape with each track that comes, we do arrive at a cathartic conclusion. Beginning with almost Gregorian chanting from deep within the emerging realm, the melody of ユートピアに到着 (Arrive at Utopia) is one of grandiose welcome. The sort of fanfare you imagine would spring forth as you take your first steps in a plane levels above the corporeal world. It is another searching melody, but there seems to be a lot more light bursting from it. The voices falling into an almost cleansing sequence, trading long drawn out words to each other. That anguish that has cloaked the tracks so far has disappeared, replaced with a feeling of religious salvation.
The journey to utopia is a long and arduous one. It is full of struggles through fog and darkness, and longing pontifications on life. desert sand feels warm at night seems to call to us from another dimension, pressing heavenly voices onto the window of the sky above us, indicating which way to turn and search like some lost desert wanderers. The voyage is rewarding on a deeply spiritual level, as the artist has once again created an incredible experience that reaches past just being a fantastic album.