evolv | Formlessness
Flag Day Recordings (CS/DL)
From the bell tone styled separation at the very top of our nation’s capital comes new work from evolv called Formlessness. With its ghostly presence the static-laden melody of Such a Cosmic Joke opens up after ninety seconds, to a circulatory strumming. Mind you, its assent is no joke whatsoever. In fact, quite the opposite, the even keel of ambient drone is layered with great care and intent. In the final lap there are toy-like sounds that eventually breakdown into a muted backdrop. The album is dedicated to a loved one battling cancer, and the sampled conversation on Coarse & Common showcases that compassion, empathy and chivalry is yet vacant, even in our trying times. A dazzling yet cursory work that is like a cleverly embedded conceptually emotive snippet, for context.
These tracks are distinct, never replicating exacting patterns, this is much more textural than it is about the form factor – its raw in places, and hopeful in others, but always done so with a speculative sense of responsibility. For instance, the hesitance presented on Killing the Incentive of the Ambitious has such a different cadence to any of the previous tracks, yet it very much belongs here, reading like a moody transcript from someone’s memories. It churns and drags like someone caught between thought and emotion. KONA (feat. Guillermo Pizarro) balances a rumbling lowercase drone with the exhaust of a guitar pedal and some toy-like effects strewn over a dreamy harmony that fades in and out of the mix. The high tide, foaming fiercely rides to the barrier as this has some in common with the likes of Pan American or the rest of the cadre over at Kranky records. The album title is reinforced by this organic sense of formlessness that is as playful as it is reflective.
There is also the addition of bird call field recordings on With Great Attachment that create this dialogue about the uncertainties of freedom. While some birds perch and sing, others ascend from the nest and away from the direct gaze. There is this sense of foreboding, like when the feathered friends know a storm is coming long before the typical meteorologist. Nature begetting nature, human nature and it’s relationship to all that is out there, and all that s/he has created far beyond natural resources. The tingling ending, Oscillate, does just that, as synths flutter alongside the continued squawks and cackles. In a right turn an AM-style radio voiceover which at first is hardly unrecognizable, a religious program testifying about Adam & Eve, our relationship to Church v. State, firearms, sex, and other moral extremes, etc. etc. takes us out. It’s all shrouded in grey area textures that are loose and slightly chilling right ’til the end.