Endless Melancholy | Fragments of Scattered Whispers
Ukranian sound artist Oleksiy Sakevych’s Endless Melancholy project is a long running exploration of piano and, more recently, tape manipulation. His new album on the Dronarivm label is full of plaintive piano musings nestled in the warm hiss of tape loops and minimal synth melodies.
Just as the days are getting shorter and the shadows longer, this music seems entirely appropriate. Sounds to add warmth to your surroundings. “Prologue (For A Broken Tape Recorder)” is a gorgeous album opener, soft distortions and crackles adding grit to a beautiful synth line. “Postcards” follows this with austere strings, to which are added warbling piano notes. The tape processing sounds analogue and natural, thanks to the assistance of Krzsztof Sujata, who fed pre-mastered sounds through a variety of tape recorders. This experimentation with tape is the magic ingredient throughout this album, from subtle wow and flutter effects to much heavier mangling.
“In Transition From Anxiety To Acceptance” begins with minor keys repeating in a circular fashion before thicker synths loom in swallow the track whole. “Her Fragrant Beauty” is much more minimal, mostly made of simple piano, nudged into slightly strange areas by tape warbles and noise. Standout track for me is “Like A Sudden Glimpse Of Shimmering Light”. The title says it all. Gentle tape hiss sets the scene for those slow strings to come alive, like sunrise, before ending in muted piano again. The balance between light and dark on this piece is a real achievement, the tones expertly rendered. In fact, this balance is noticeable during all of these tracks. Where some artists might be heavy handed with darker shades, Endless Melancholy knows when to exercise restraint and let the music breathe.
Final track, “Washed Away By Slow Currents” is a perfect way to close this set, saving the most melancholic track for last. It is distinctly bitter sweet, and I can imagine how this music could work well with slow motion images or black and white film. The final few minutes apply those lush minor keys again through gentle tape processing to create a sublime, subdued finale.