Auburn Lull – Hiber EP (Geographic North, 2014)


For the first time in a long time and after a relatively relaxed but emotionally tumultuous week, it’s time to get back into the late night review groove with a stunning awakening in Auburn Lull’s first musical output in 6 years. I’ve been meaning to get round to Hiber for a little while but now seems the opportune time; as Auburn Lull rise up out of their hiatus my own flow reverts; with university now conclusively finished and a terrifying wall of unemployed free time approaches, it seems our roles are being reversed, exemplified in this delicate, 20 minute EP.

“Moterm” shows almost no signs of having been away, booting up instantly in a jovial wave of bouncy synths filling the empty void with their sparkle and energy, that voice of enthusiasm reverbing merrily in the sparse, cavernous, dry chamber of the creative well. It’s a wonderfully brief and cute way to open the release as it evolves instantly into the much more measured “CA1” which dominates much of the EP’s timespan in of itself. The naivety is replaced by a cruel reality as the bright and bubbly pace of the opener diffuses away in this sad, elongate beauty filled with string drones and wavering synth lines. There’s a lightness to it still but the immediacy is lost and it’s an old and tired fugue for large part, its sunlight an old and faded, hollow sort of sound, wise beyond its years but also cynical. Its evolution is careful and measured, migrating through crests and troughs of emotional despondence as it proceeds through its haunting journey.

“CA1” does eventually fade from view and thus ending the A-side of the cassette on a rather low point considering the opener, but the B-side is quickly brought back round with “Sosna”, a similarly short and sharp introduction that throws the door wide open with a thick and commanding synth drone and snapping alterations in its flow as its pitch adjusts, jerking from one track to the next as if attempting to banish the interstitial silence as harshly as possible. The proceeding title track “Hiber” is a welcome relief, then, especially in that it doesn’t attempt to take on the melancholic expanse of the A-side. It arrives in bursts of filtered piano, distant tinklings of smeared sound that shimmer like the Sun on a pond but seem to also translate the murkiness of the muddied waters on which they exist, fuzzy and warbled as they are, flowing in and out as banks of cloud dim our view until night falls and forces us into closer “Static Partition”.

It may actually be my favourite track of the album, returning in circular waves of passionate and needy melody; at first they grow strong and impress upon us their overwhelming display of emotion, choking us with repetitive performances of hard and sad strings that slowly spiral out into an altogether less texturally complex and rather resigned diminuendo, shaking and quivering at its synth tips. Flushes of sound rake across its surface too; passing currents of gentle static, wobbling reverbed echoes and distal, delicate tympany in some slow percussion just add to the reluctantly miserable symphony. I suppose it’s a beautifully deceptive record really; introducing itself on surprisingly empowered riffs but quickly devolving and demonstrating a deep-set fugue, it’s a creative pit devoid of activity beyond what we see and deeply aware of the void that surrounds it, it fills the chasm with echoic and reverbed pulses of instrumentation in an attempt to rekindle the fire. It’s a graceful and not too depressing listen that’s actually quite refreshing in its luxurious simplicity.

You can listen to the EP in full at the Geographic North Soundcloud here.