Review Summary: in case you may have forgotten what bliss sounds like
The last time I wrote about bansheebeat's music, I only partially glimpsed what was so damned intriguing about it. I noted that Spiral Power
, the first full-length album released by the electronic producer Dylan Browne, was an excursion into nostalgia itself, but that it also seemed to be created with a debilitating sadness in mind. What I hadn't considered was that I would eventually encounter these feelings - that the pain that comes with loneliness would be as familiar to me as an old friend from school. Part of the reason I am now more behind that album than ever before is upon hearing how wildly different its successor is - how from an emotional standpoint, Lumine
is persistently warmer than the album that came before it. It seems that Lumine
was written to counter Spiral Power
, to cover the emotions that were previously left unexplored - and there is something unshakably interesting about such an idea.
To be sure, there was something special about the anxiety that defined Spiral Power
as an album. The constant fear was what structured the record in the first place, and was what gave the record a more patient pace. Lumine
is the exact opposite, firing on all cylinders and blazing new trails of sound for bansheebeat with every new section. Parts of this record remind me of Cerulean
by Baths, in sound as well as in aesthetic, while others bring to mind the insistent joy found in Anamanamaguchi's music. And the individual songs vary so widely in terms of stylings - a tune like "Sea of Lights" has Nosaj Thing vibes painted all over it, not to even mention how the funk-infused swagger of "Rainy Love" would make Saint Pepsi himself proud. Indeed there is a swathe of differing influences to be found within Lumine, but inspecting them too closely would be a futile effort. They are beginning points, and for those of us who want to better understand the impact of this album, they serve merely as red herrings. Lumine
- a collection of finely orchestrated and meticulously arranged electronic music - is strictly a success because of the work put into it by its creator.
"Zeal 1994," for example, is a song that only works because of how impeccably arranged it is. The track's introduction is reminiscent of Oneohtrix Point Never in how expertly it utilizes layering, in how it somehow bridges two melodic ideas that one wouldn't ever think of linking together. The song introduces stuttering drums that give it more of a body, and the beat becomes more and more complex as it goes along. Then it fades out - a vocal sample screams out, alone. Then "Zeal" really comes in, a wonky, glitched-out breakdown that'd make Will Wiesenfeld himself swoon. The song itself merges so many disparate musical ideas in one fell swoop - it reintegrates sounds that previously had been divided and disconnected, isolated and utilized by very particular artists. And that's why this song perfectly encapsulates the value of a record like Lumine
- it shows that you really can fuse all your favorite styles together into a cohesive album, and that you can make something bound to leave a deeply lasting and satisfying impact on its listeners.
Listeners will have all sorts of different opinions on this record, which is one of the most exciting things about this release - I'm looking forward to being part of those discussions as well. Different personality types will surely be drawn to different components of the album, and that since it covers to many different facets of the emotional spectrum, I don't believe there will be any unified concensus about its greatest moments. But Lumine
is consistent about one thing - it functions on optimism, caffeinated and unbridled. Its final two tracks, the title track and "Polestar" take up the same emotional space on the record - they serve as the high-speed train ride back into town. I see these tracks as the dash at the end of a marathon, as an attempt to drive home as many positive feelings as possible - and it could more easily be called cheesy if they hadn't been preceded, quite literally, by a recorded sample of Brahms' Requiem at the beginning of "Lumine." The serenity of the sample is what allows the ending of this album to be as unabashedly sappy as it is. I'd argue that this is what makes Lumine
work so well, the fact that it embraces all of these extreme emotions instead of trying to dilute them.
Producing music is a stellar way to blow off steam - it is a way to make music that perfectly typifies what you have been feeling, or it can even be a way to show others what you desire to feel. And if Lumine
is a case of the latter, then something tells me this album is bansheebeat's way of isolating joy, of catching it in a jar and observing it so others can too.