Norman Records: [Thy-011].

January 21, 2011

O’ joy.

Fluid Radio: [Thy-008].

January 13, 2011

Seasons (Pre-Din) has really served as one of the quiet musical highlights of the past few years. The man works under a shroud of mystery and it’s quite appropriate once one considers the sense of mystery that his music evokes. A count on the number of releases or even an easy way of finding his presence on the internet are a chore. Even keeping track of the man’s discography can be a difficult task, but each release unearthed seems to reveal another layer to his work.

‘We Fall Like The Night’ from his own THY-REC reads like a hybrid of hauntology, modern classical and ambient/drone, as most of his work does, but what makes each release unique is how different aspects of his work come to the forefront. With ‘We Fall’..’ most notable is the attention he draws to the modern classical bent to his work, especially the guitar and piano work. Much of what makes S(P-D) stand out is that use of fragmented radio transmissions, and that still serves as the foundation of his work here. But ‘We Fall…’ is quick to reveal a different approach where all that fades away and gives way to some of the loveliest and most delicate melodies in his body of work. Added to the repertoire of instruments Seasons (Pre-Din) plays better than his contemporaries is the guitar. Really. As if the piano wasn’t enough. The intense and brooding darkness that form the foundation of all those sparse radio transmissions give way to moments of intense and fragile beauty. It’s a lesson in contrast but also reveals that against a backdrop of darkness, all that light just seems so much brighter. And truly, his use of piano deserves to be on par with contemporaries like Keith Kenniff and Peter Broderick in terms of his ability to create melodies that just seem to reach in and grab you by the soul.

Album opener ‘We Are Night’ begins with a lovely piano refrain that swells at the same pace as a radio transmission drone serving as the perfect way to express the evolution of his work – The familiar and the new. A variety of his THY-REC EPs from this period hinted at some of the lovely piano work, but here it is perfectly integrated into the overall makeup of his sound. Soon the piano gives way and we are buried in those stark radio experiments again, back in the darkness. There’s also some instrumentation hidden in the background slowly pushing your psyche in to the recesses of the imagination. Then we find ourselves in a world of backwards looping melodies while the radio voices continue on. And soon a guitar refrain surfaces, repeating again and again as a voice creates a spare melody in the background. Again, the light finds its way through the dark. Is this the man himself or a sample? Either way it furthers the other-worldly quality of the piece.

‘We Fall Like The Night’ is also unique within his body of work in the approach to songwriting: within individual pieces there tends to be a number of smaller pieces that slowly build and disintegrate. Sometimes the radio voices (from the grave?) persist through the entire ‘song’ but the melodic instrumentation slowly comes and goes. The ebb and flow of drone to modern classical build-ups and breakdowns serves as the basis of the contrast of light and dark: the brooding intensity of the drone aspects versus the shimmering beauty of the modern classical moments. Never has the contrast of light and dark been so clear in his work.

Final piece ‘Falling’ follows a similar pattern of radio broadcasts persisting while melodies bloom and then fade. It creates a sense of focus and self-containment to the EP. ‘We Fall Like The Night’, which is an older release, serves as a reminder to those that missed it like I had that this an artist whose work you are best not to miss a single moment of. Each work is both an experiment and evolution highlighting that Seasons (Pre-Din) is an artist with a very deep pool of inspiration to draw from, more so than most artists. The fact that THY-REC has a library of releases that seem hard to keep track of seems a nice metaphor for a man whose work has so much depth: the more layers to the artist you see, the more you realize you’ve barely scratched the surface.