Siavash Amini & Saaad – All Lanes of Lilac Evening (Opal Tapes, 2020)

I’m adrift, lost in a sunset I can never recapture. They’re all like that, aren’t they? An elusive, effusive event, all the same and yet never two identical. The Sun sliding over the horizon, the sky reconfiguring its palette into nightly tones, its phase shift into darkness never twice the same, nor the scenery, nor the feeling.

Halfway across the world, the same sight, the same daily recurring event, but the sensation was different. Golds and blues turn to peach, turn to purple, turn to navy, turn to black. A perfect landscape, unspoilt and unsullied, melts into the night, seen only by its silhouette on the starfield. I could have laid there forever.

Why are we here? What is our purpose? Sometimes it feels unfair to have been gifted this conscious life, one that constantly questions its meaning, its value. What should I be doing with my time, how am I spending it, where is this course taking me? There isn’t really a wrong answer, neither is there a right one, and both Amini and Saaad know this.

“A Vision Without Contour” moves in shapeless grandeur, materialising synth forms against the darkness in fluid motions. Like the rest of the record, it doesn’t feel eerie or overtly dark, just fraught, tense, like a taught wire quivering with tension.

The same could be said of “Time Is A Child Playing In The Sand”, its hushed and indistinct splayed synths laid upon a tableaux of drone layers that scour and remold themselves ceaselessly. Abraded guitars wander in oblivion, familiar forms coming and going, never quite the same, never fixed in place, never quite perfect.

Only at one point is the angst quantifiable and too overt to be missed: “Dragging The Harrow”. Arpeggiated synths despool, wiggling and worming as life unravels and is turned over. Some ominous organ is brought in its wake, humming with a Hadean depth as though rent from some freshly ploughed dark space. Inklings of black thought oxidise in newly exposed air, emanating concern and fearful energies.

There we are at the end, “Ever-Newer Waters Flow On Those Who Step In The Same Rivers”. I can see that night again, the birds swirling overhead in silhouettes, soft slack water washing upon the stoney shore. Meaning comes from distinctness: it’s not special if it’s normal. Warped guitar croons as the waves break, this cleansing force radiating in dying light with repentant, baptismal energy: you are free.

Another sunset over this cursed consciousness.