Closing Statements – It Djents review
This album produces a sense of fragility. So fits the theme: Closing Statements was inspired by the last words that people say before death. Thus, the album is all about that emotional affect – Closing Statements is an album to make you feel. Thus, instead of focusing on technicality of the music (like we might do for the heavier progressive acts we have historically covered), I recommend you focus on how this album connects with you emotionally.
The electronic parts make the album. The arpeggios and tremoloed square waves of “Farewell” give grit to what would otherwise be smooth. The bass synth of “On The Contrary” emphasizes the fragility of the strings, and seem on the verge of breaking themselves, lending to the sense of endangered beauty that pervades the album. Reverb is used throughout the production to give an expansive and softened touch to most of the parts. It would be a mistake to think that Closing Statements relies on electronica for its value, however. The first track, “It Must Have Been the Coffee”, a song that is one of my favorites to come out this year and which sets up much of the theme and tone of the rest of the album, does not use any obviously electronic parts. It is much stronger for it; it is one of the simplest and most affecting tracks on the album.
The sounds used in this track have an almost lo-fi quality to them – the key part, for example, has the sound of an older piano of which the hammer mechanism can be heard working to produce notes, and seems to begin to distort as one would expect older recording equipment to. It’s a beautiful effect. The more cleanly produced electronic sections on other tracks stand in sharp relief to the aging of the more traditional instruments, and so occasionally sound a little out of place. Consequently, I am not completely convinced that the end of “Unknown Destination” or the middle of “More Light” were mixed in the best way they could have been. That said, I’m also not sure that this disjoint was not the effect that Kaada was looking for. For tracks that are so beautiful regardless, it is difficult to think that this criticism matters at all.
For all of the simple, ambient, and haunting passages, Closing Statements also displays a sometimes more playful attitude. “Hey Unfair, That Was My Exit” stands out as a faster and more traditionally ‘classical’ song, of the sort that you would find in the score to a movie rather than a concerto. It’s a perfectly nice song, but perhaps stands as the weakest on the album. As soon as Kaada leaves atmospheric territory, he stops affecting us in the way described above. Rather, this approach invites focus on the music itself and comparison to the more standard classical composers. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t quite stand up against them.
When listening to the rest, though, expect an emotionally (bitter)sweet ride through senses of nostalgia, melancholy, and perhaps even resignation. Most importantly, expect a truly gorgeous album that really deserves your time.
Notable tracks: “It Must Have Been the Coffee”; “Unknown Destination”; “Everything is an Illusion”
FFO: Nils Frahm, Julianna Barwick, Tim Hecker, Biosphere