EUS – Vergel (BLWBCK, 2024)

I’ve been working with my current employer for just over 7 years, and two weeks today will mark the 7 year anniversary of moving into my current house, sort of properly solidifying my cross-country translocation here. I’ve often felt that there’s something in that number, seven: I know it has a long history in the symbolic and spiritual, but my perception is more circular.

Example: the two major phases of schooling here in the UK are 7 years long, you’re usually 21 when you leave university (multiple of seven), medical or architectural degrees (of which I have neither) often run 7 years: the rigours of the educational system seem to me to build a cyclicity into life unintended (or unapparent), or not from an early age.

I appreciate this makes little sense on the face of it but part of the reason for my retroflections lately is that life has been quite peculiar over the last few months, and I’ve caught myself in moments of emotional flattening drifting back to think of a younger version of me, an innocent and inexperienced predecessor that would never have guessed (and perhaps never have chosen) this future. Yet here we are all the same, turning in the periodicity of life’s suggestive cycles. Rise and fall, subduction and erosion.

EUS’ VergelĀ accentuates that moodiness in its sonic burial grounds: a deepening past, a strange and vaguely unhappy present, and a listless, unseeable yet aerial future. Jose’s music, perhaps more than ever, treads in the muddiness of that now, peering through the fog ahead and behind, barely perceiving what’s to come. The record moves seamlessly, early tracks like brief intro “Vergel” (Orchard) and “Terranal” (Earthly) crossing dronescapes over borders, moving in grey mists and hovering drones.

Nominally though this is a record of the earth, and so we sink into “Subsuelo (piedad)” (Subsoil, piety) to suck the air out of early movements, a process that its descendant “Subsuelo (lethargo)” or Subsoil, Lethargy also achieves later in the album. In between them in the record’s core is a sort of subjugated realm, a world of everything and nothing. “Veta Madre” (Motherlode) delivers a glimmer of promise, a light at the end of a tunnel, a point of distant emanation. Murmuring voices can be heard as it slips tectonically into “Antas” (Tapirs), whisperings that percolate through the journeying synths: are these angels come to rescue, or just urban throng stamping overhead?

I’m convinced that “Umbral”‘s motif originated in Blade Runner 2049, its ominous reworking rather flattened but layered into emergent splays of untouchable tones that slide across the ground. It pitches gently into closing “Nucleo”, Nucleus, the heart of everything yet still moves in the same ambiguous idiosyncrasies. It casts the same triple-point that’s always found here in time’s crook: a light touch, a mysterious aura, a hint of malice.

If things are as they seem and my life is on the cusp of circularising another seven year cycle it does beg the question of what’s coming next? Will the burial continue, or is this the time of the plough and the turning of the earth? VergelĀ doesn’t have answers because it is only the moment.