Abul Mogard – Above All Dreams (Ecstatic, 2018)

Above All Dreams

Dissatisfaction. Summer never seems to quite live up to expectation for me; for as long as I’ve known Summer has always been the time that I’ve always felt something was missing from. Festivals, foreign breaks, day trips, I’ve always felt a hole irrespective of the time I’ve had. The notion, the prospect of Summer is always elevated above reality, and for whatever selfish reason it always seemed like better, younger, richer, more attractive people around me were having a superior time somehow, no matter what.

It is a nonsensical feeling, this jealousy of others, this misguided elevation of status conferred to people I don’t know and will never meet again. Yet there it is, brooding and niggling insidiously within, a nagging “what if”.

His first music for three years, the almost-certainly-not-a-retired-serbian-factory-worker Mogard channels a sense of unrealistic expectation into Above All Dreams and the danger that lies therein. Unlike his previous works, this albums strives towards a goal greater than the sum of its parts, each track conferring more detail to the emotional weight of the journey.

Synths straight up croon in mid-album “Over My Head”, simple melancholia dragging its feet in elongate passages, basic feeling bypassing logical thought and passing by without a care of the effects. It’s a subdued counterpoint to the rhythmic, repetitious arpeggiations of precursor “Upon The Smallish Circulation”, its cyclical tones migrating through windy drone backfields as they pace, pace, pace through a desert soundscape. This is a void, a place where feeling never rains and we’re subjugated by mindless, endless aspirations.

They are frightfully empowered compared to the title track, whose vast 16 minute span moves in tremulous and strained sequences peering down at the scarred landscape of the promised land. It moves with a sad grace before slewing into a dense, dark finale, heaving itself into disillusioned solitude at its conclusion. Even that feels shallow compared to the lengthier closing piece “The Roof Falls”, streaming out fragmented synth slashes that reverberate and cruise through the lachrymose organ-like drones below. It warns and threatens, thunder heaving across the air as it densifies into swirling slow motion catastrophe, reality bleeding through the walls of the vision and collapsing the unnatural airs formed about it.

This nonsubstantive dream of the perfect Summer needs to end.