Jason Van Wyk – Threads (n5MD, 2021)

Every year around September and October time, I feel a strangeness set in. Part of it seems to me to be the expectation of education at the end of Summer, the returning to school or university, a feeling so ingrained into my internal timetable over 18 years that even after a decade away from institutionalisation there’s still this current in me that prepares for something that will never come.

More esoterically is the transition into Autumn, the season of change, of dying light and gasping colours, of cooling air and cosy evenings. I’ve always loved its filmic skies in the earlier evening twilights and the shift to cooler, harder sunlight that seems to hammer the world into increasing starkness.

Things are just filled with imminence and a tinge of melancholia, a sense of departure. The mood speaks to me, and because it always has,  I feel a peculiar timelessness, or perhaps a better word would be agelessness, around this period up until Christmas.

It’s this atmosphere that leads me back to Threads¬†so often at the moment, its nebulous realms of cinematic ambience aglow in Autumn’s colours and the dreaminess that fills my mind. A realm of Jon Hopkins-esque sustains and piano acquaintances that never steps too boldly but always maintains its atmospherics.

Actually it’s the piano that really is the most evocative discernible element here: penultimate “Subdued” hangs its twinkling keys off of humming noir synths like stars clinging sadly to the inky fabric of space. It moves slowly, pushing out inch by inch into an expectant darkness that’s been growing since the first.

Appropriately titled “Light Burns Out” also has that idiosyncratic tinkling arpeggiation, though earlier in the process and surrounded by reversed drones and elongate reverb amongst the crinkling static washes that frame a grainy sky like a camera trying to keep up with the fading sunset. It permits its presence far more than sophomore “Amidst”, whose primary instrumentation remains incompletely formed and lost to stuttering, flickering passages that are chased but never caught.

It often feels like it’s on some kind of edge, treading a fine line where it seems Jason could chase any number of different routes: “Partial Dawn” has more than a hint of Hopkins’ Ambient Techno stylings and yet its shard-like drones that glimmer beneath the pulsating electronica have a Heckerian tone to them. Despite this it hardly feels like a world of possibilities, rather a realm of unfulfilled realities that linger briefly before slipping away along with the receding year.

For those looking to soundtrack these dying days, look no further.