Desert Island Discs #4: Jesse Somfay – NotR

Some years of your life are more peculiar than others; overall every year ends up being pretty peculiar in its own way, no two ever being the same afterall, but some are unquestionably more dynamic and filled with change and upheavals than others. 2011, the year I first listened to Somfay, the year I left school and started uni, the year my grandmother died, it was a strange one. It’s in this way that “NotR” gets imbibed with a particularly strong sense of sentimentality for me; not only a luxurious capstone to an expansive double LP but also a wistfully beautiful evocation of youthful progression and maturation through an odd time.

Slowly, oh so slowly, organ strokes settle into gentle and elongate repetition, each looped expression melting seamlessly into the next, their edges softened by reverb so as to impart a pre-dawn glow but not so much that they lose a sense of their strength. For all their hovering, almost wavering, beauty, the turnings still retain that magical thrumming power, its scale now muted into sensitive croonings peppered by awakening bird chirrups that stir with the sound.

There’s no veil over the sentimentality here, no hiding the thick wistful draperies the drip out of every inch of the piece, but it doesn’t languish in them, doesn’t accept them as negative or sorrowful incidences. Rather the soft light opens a new day like a new chapter, everything blossoming before us with radiant acceptance and gently forceful cyclings in necessary commitment to our new path and its quiet deviation from the previous norm. All good things must come to an end someone once said, but nobody said that there wouldn’t ever be any more good things afterwards; sometimes we need “NotR” to remind us of that.