Post-rock transfer of imaginary reality to the here and now turns into breathtaking emotional landscape.
There was no sense of closure when "Emergent" arrived in 2016 as a final chapter of a project that Jon Durant and Colin Edwin envisaged as a trilogy; instead, the present for the open-minded public produced the air of expectancy which will be settled on this wonder of a record. The understated pleasure embedded in it is simply astonishing – possibly because, as the album’s title may suggest, the pandemic served to sharpen and polish the transatlantic duo’s traditionally remote modus operandi by removing many a distracting factor and letting them focus on melodies.
So while the ethereal “Expanse” – the “Mutual Isolation” finale – picks up where its predecessor and the ensemble’s sophomore effort “Etymology” left off, this piano-rippled epic would soon lose initial intangibility to the feeling of urgency, and contrabass, Edwin’s instrument of choice for all these pieces, would paint stentorian pictures over Durant’s fluid motifs with a very tender touch, caressing the background glimmer of nuanced electronica to dissolve the preceding numbers’ nigh on unbearable beauty. There’s warmth in them from the beginning, as “Where It All Began (For TR)” opens the proceedings with a dimmed lick of Aleksei Saks’s trumpet and the rustle of Andi Pupato’s cymbals before Vinny Sabatino’s drums kick the cut’s soundscape into a delicate overdrive, so Jon and Colin’s aural web is soaring and anchored at the same time until the beats get fantastically frantic and up the atmosphere’s degree.
But the romantic “Month Of Moonlight” takes the listener even higher, Durant’s lines piercing the powerful groove that cushions his six strings and striving for celestial liberty, and “Rosso Portofino” has brass radiate through its trip-hop-like throb and an insistent note from the ivories which give way to another guitar-framed panorama. Still, “Resistential” unfolds a fresh dynamic scope to the group’s multidimensional elegy, so there’s an impressive contrast to the twang carrying “Perilous Terrain” across the well-tuned tumult and belligerent soloing full of pregnant sparseness and followed with “The Evolution Of Disintegration” whose hypnagogic grandeur, delivered by the band in broad strokes, is bound to melt the hardest of hearts.
Which is why the tight-but-loose interplay of “Precipitation” edges, shrouding one’s mind in silky sonics, towards nocturnal jazz only to see its bottom-end echoes bounce into “Divine Rascal” that should marry swing to Latinesque sensuality on an almost intimate level: a perfect image of the record’s title. As a result, what could seem solitude will prove to be a special creative bond, or a smoldering faith in musical partnership… or, indeed, burnt belief.