Review Summary: Apologia.
I misjudged this one. I under-estimated, at first, the way the ethereal melodies swirl around like something you know you’ve heard before but can’t quite place, a word lost at the tip of the tongue; what i thought was a deficit was, in fact, a great strength, especially when it’s 4 in the morning and you're cold and you need something to approximate a blanket. I over-valued the abrupt shifts between tracks. I thought they were interesting, some kind of statement on entropy -- one can stir jam into vanilla ice-cream until it becomes pink, but once it’s pink there’s no turning back the clock -- and i thought with each brusque segue Huerco S. was hovering over the album with a spoon.
I was incorrect. The abrupt segues break the cohesion of the album, which evokes an intermediary space, between life and death if you like but for me it’s more physical; as with Herbert Distel’s La Stazione, an album I ill understood the first time too, it distorts cause and effect until the woozy melodies and gorgeous lilts become both the train station at the start of the night, ripe with excitement and possibility, and the same station at the end, where you return either celebrant or rueful. Which is to say that this album exists in the spaces in between, the ones that aren’t noticed or vaunted but which are essential to anything happening nonetheless. A crook of a room, a quick bathroom break in a cafe; it is the incidental, unexplored spaces and locations Huerco S. troubles himself with, and what he finds is astonishing, radiant, beautiful. The effect is nothing less than magical.
It’s nothing as trite as blowing the dust off, or detailing decay through shimmering synth-loops and snatches of implacable grooves. It’s more than that, but less. It’s what happens in between life, and Huerco finds things worth exalting.
I got it wrong - i’ll slip tinymixtapes a tenner later - so I hope this rectifies things. I very nearly missed out on one of the most essential albums of the decade. Let this haunting near-miss be an example. After all, with the virtue of hindsight, it’s the little things, the delicate things, which matter the most.