I often ramble on about the healing power of music, mainly because, idealistic fool that I am, I believe it. If you’re reading this, then you must already know that when you trustingly place yourself in the right hands it’s exactly what music can do.
So, from the opening seconds of Setting Sun, you will happily recognise that Canadian ambient dream-pop duo You’ll Never Get to Heaven are experts at this kind of thing.
Many have the power to glower and spread gloom (and of course there’s ample need and a time and a place for that), however it takes perhaps a more refined skill to create something with the kind of sparse elegance and spectral beauty that cushions and soothes without becoming background muzak or simply chilling you to the bone.
The funny thing is I’m a bit of a philistine, I like lyrics, beats etc. But this mini album makes me forget all that. The eight tracks are all fairly short, often too short for such loveliness to end, some are wordless others featuring Alice Hansen’s Stina-esque whisper of a vocal.
Yes, it’s melancholy but we are definitely talking about the more comforting end of the spectrum, because as I’ve said before, Joni got it right when she sang, ‘there is comfort in melancholy, when there’s no need to explain.’
I promise not to use that quote again this year, but it fits too well here, don’t we all need that space sometimes?
As well as melancholy there’s also a sense of the mysterious that runs infinite fathoms deep through Wave your Moonlight Hat. This is a blank canvas for you, dear listener, to run riot across with colour and imagination. The only thing slightly off is possibly the ungainly album title, although once you hear the mystery train emerge within the time stopping echo chamber of Eternal Present, you will forgive even that. Actually maybe there’s one other miss-step and that’s within the press release, various artists are mentioned as touchstones, a few I know, others I don’t, but I’m sure I’m not the only person to shout some other names loudly.
I’ve already mentioned Stina Nordenstam but elsewhere Dust evokes Fiction era Comsats at their most pensive and gossamer-lite, or even the fretless bass wonder of early Opposition. Whatever, ultimately Dust achieves it’s own heart-slowing beauty.
Pattern Waves leads you through a maze into a zen garden of refracting tones (seriously, this is that kind of record) taking you out into the open to the sound of birdsong. You could believe it to be something Sylvian and Sakamoto might have come up with.
Eye, Soul and Hand is a whispered sliver of beauty, piano and fretless bass is pretty much all that’s needed.
There are no weak links, there is no ‘filler’. All too shortly you’ll find yourself returning to the beginning just to have your spine tingled once again by Setting Sun with it’s marimba driven Blue Nile late night train ride ambience. Yes you can sink deep within these depths, but you won’t drown.
Postscript: never mind the cassette, please release this on cd…