Now more than ever I feel the need to take time and escape, if only for a few precious minutes, every day. It takes different forms: closing my eyes and taking comfort in the darkness, reading a fantastical book that pulls me away from reality, or of course listening to some music. In the age of social media overload it has become increasingly more difficult to take time and self-reflect, or better yet, just be. No news feed, no advertisements, no political analysis, no email – just being. And now that my home country seems to be in for the darkest four years of any administration, the need to keep sane is more urgent than ever.
I’m fortunate that, as a teacher, I have some built in time outside of the classroom to prepare, plan lessons, etc. Lately, I use most of this time to just deflate and take some time to myself in an attempt to clear my mind from the day’s newest depressing headlines. Music is a central piece in making this possible. Good Night & Good Morning’s Narrowing Type has often provided this peaceful intervention since it’s 2012 release.
The album opens with Jill, a short drone piece coupled with distant piano keys. Jill perfectly disintegrates into the first vocal track, Philadelphia. From there, it feels as though you’ve entered a warm dream. The somber vocals and sparse drumming are particularly effective here. Philadelphia’s soothing lyrics and vocal melodies pair perfectly with the ebb and flow of the track. The album as a whole is an incredibly patient affair. There’s nothing rushed or forcibly pushed to the forefront – an admirable quality and one that makes it all the more sweeping and intoxicating.
Key Studies take shape in the same vein as Philadelphia with it’s calming (yet slightly more pronounced) vocals and gentle drums. Both of these vocal tracks do an excellent job in pulling the listener into a nebulous world outside our own for the 42 minute run time. Meridian I and Meridian II are the centerpiece of the album and together they propel the listener further into the mind’s uncharted landscape. Meridian I is a brooding drone track that expertly uses some backing instruments throughout the glacially paced fuzz that lifts, crescendos, and finally settles into Meridian II. II continues a similar pattern but adding some effecting vocals this time. All concluding with another explosion of sound and emotion that beautifully and abruptly falls into nothingness with the closing.
Japanese Thread is another gorgeous drone track that could be described as the most mournful on the album even though there are no lyrics. The tranquil guitar combined with abrasive noise in the background brings to mind the crumbling of a city or the dismantling of a civilization. The album concludes with the absolutely other-worldly Abroad & Neutral. This near ten minute epic is so effective in it’s ability to transport the listener and perfectly wraps up the seven track journey.
I would recommend this album to anyone that needs to escape and pull away from all the bullshit we’re currently in the middle of.
Top Tracks: Philadelphia, Abroad & Neutral (*I suggest to listen to the album as a whole)
Own Records 2012