2814 – Rain Temple (Dream Catalogue, 2016)


Originally of Vaporwave fame, 2814 prefer to craft music reminiscent of a different time, imbibing their sound with an older, 1980’s pastiche, a retro futuristic noir vibe that gives the unknown a certain seductive mystery.¬†Rain Temple¬†moves somewhat away from their former style, seemingly to the disappointment of some of their fans, but into a direction that is less about mindless aesthetic and more of character of place, of mind, of body, reminding us of a time when the future had a grimey physicality and very real sense of presence.

We begin to get a sense of the enormity of the record’s musical scope in opening “Before The Rain”, an ominous introductory piece that glitters into life, finding itself in the middleground between Emeralds and Vangelis as it marries cruising guitar drones and jangly electronica with more subtle synth croons as it evokes its noir vistas. Heady pulses in its tune swell with impending drama, the unnatural cityscape in its glass and concrete and steel waiting for the rain, eternally dehydrated and waterless, an innate symbol of its artificiality. When it does arrive at its conclusion and segues into the following “Eyes of the Temple” the world is a changed place, suddenly becoming beat driven and Techno orientated, grounded. Things seem to come alive in its immersion, striking beats exuding a certain swagger as we permit ourselves to finally come to ground level and put feet to earth, walk through the evocative neon glow about us.

“Lost in a Dream” sees us practically turn to reverie in its lush aqueous environment, hushed vocals and slow beats summoning images of Balam Acab’s darkest moments; miasmic and impenetrable, yet elegiac in its constructions. In this impressionable state of ours forces seem to pull at us through the veil, as the grandiose “Guided By Love” intimates in its crooning Vangelis synths and sweeping drones, impositions melting away in the promise of love and a certain limitlessness opening up before us. This ethereal connectivity seems almost at odds to its sibling “Transference” which, in its plodding downtempo constructions, evokes a mechanical, almost medical, atmosphere; it’s crisp, sterile and filled with careful bleeps and shimmies, as though the romantic integration of two souls is a surgical affair.

All of that is stripped away in “This Body”, my outright favourite piece although the most out of place here. Its defences fall away rapidly, barely aware of the sirens blazing in the night’s heat beyond. Its rolling drum lines and balearic synths are sensual, intimate, very particular in their physicality and acutely aware of themselves. Everything, as always, is deeply measured and direct, every action purposefully placed but done so for exacting reasons.

Is this a discovery of the city, a certain love affair developing with its darkling charms and labyrinthine character, or is this a more human development? 2814 don’t push for clarity in this case as our slow-jam concludes in the nebulous indistinctness of “Contact”, our moment of touch and connectivity burning out into a cavernous rush of amorphous expression, pink drone reverb sending us reeling in transcendental reverie.

Sometimes it can be hard to call a city “home”, especially considering their size and scale; how can one ever call a place home when that same place harbours so many others? This question endures through the present as well as in 2814’s perception of the future; these population centres will always be at odds to the human condition, but sometimes we need to take the time out in moments like these to reconnect to them, remember their good sides and reestablish our connection to these very human places.