Geotic – To Not Now, Nor To Ever, Despair (Basement’s Basement, 2022)

I like Winter light. I like its lowness, its weakness, its brevity. In its strongest moments it has a brilliance and clarity that Summer can never equal, sharp sunlight cutting through cold and clear skies; at its weakest it hardly introduces itself at all, barely penetrating the clouds to flatly illuminate the world of starkness in oppressive greyness.

Winter light is nascent, the distant partner to Summer’s fire and fury, and a necessary counterpoint. I know a lot of people who hate the season, desperate for its short and spartan days to be over and hasten towards the months of opportunity, but without it how we would judge the clamour of life? How would we recognise the evolving beauty of space, plot time’s passage, contrast the highs and lows?

Despair¬†is that reminder of oscillation and how the points from Summers past and future roll through these chilly days. An Autumn product itself, its November release was already watching the year’s peak recede into the distance, these 40 minutes of genteel loops carrying some fragment of hope forward into the timestream.

Static shrouds the rarified synths of penultimate “Accept”, lost in air to float on recursive daydreams whilst a little drum machine kicks occasionally in the distance to give that propulsive heartbeat shunt, keeping a wish alive. It flirts tantalisingly close to slippage, especially when compared against early efforts like dreamy “Depth to the Well” and playful “Crookedness”,¬† the latter especially embracing joyfully playful guitar loops woven from some Bibio-like cloth.

Memory as slightly unreliable and faulty, even insufficient, surfaces in the impossibly lovely “Great Contentious Continent”, whose crisp guitar loops falter and smudge in playback pitchbending, as though pulled by some inexorable gravitational force to bend into melancholic twilight. Its compatriot, sophomore “Etcher”, drifts placidly on similar but slowed chords, underscored by delicate piano arpeggiations that flare like rising stars in its descent.

 

It’s tempting to keel over and let the season take us, dream of hibernating through its rain and darkness to be roused in Spring to begin anew, but then we’d never learn anything, never feel any different. To live through Winter is to experience juxtaposition, and while there may well be fewer of those precious moments here at the nadir, there’s no need for despair: we have the memories of times gone by to carry us, and the promise of Sun to come again.