anthéne – for the first time in years (Polar Seas Recordings, 2017)

for the first time in years

I’ve always enjoyed this time of year as September makes way into October and the first suggestions of Autumn become detectable in the weather and the foliage. The seasonal change always seemed to mirror that of my own life’s course, what with the turbulence in returning to a new school or university year and all the fresh experiences and trials that would inevitably bring.

Those years have since passed, the guiding schedule of the education system no longer a force in shaping my life and dictating the passage of my time, and yet for the first time since my departure I can feel the echoes of change again. It’s been a strange year of personal development and social turbulence, but now that things are beginning to feel more settled and rhythmic, it’s afforded an opportunity to look back at all that’s changed and appreciate the possibility for advancement into the future.

for the first time in years embraces that strange hinterland that straddles the divide between past and present, the bittersweetness in crooning over the past yet holding on to some seed of light and optimism for the future. As with Brad’s previous work it builds impossibly careful curtains of intertwined drones, plaited and layered meshes of elongate sound that are neither happy nor sad, warm nor cold. There’s a duality to every constructed moment as slow turns of fresh lightness fold over the soft, miasmic fog that underlines the past, yet neither are ever allowed to get ahead of themselves. New and old are kept in balance, the shining yet tentative middleground they quietly carve out the space our present consciousness and personality fills.

I’d be hesitant to call it contented, yet neither would I call it dissatisfied. It just seems to hum with a low-key sense of curiosity: pleasure in cool, clear, purple skies on the cusp of a new day; the slight quickening of the heart when eyes catch and hands meet. Just little details that remind us we’re alive, a hesitant, glowing hope for what lies around each coming corner. Things are good, but discreetly so.