Mikael Lind – Sounds That Escaped (2017)

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The paint never used, the shutter never triggered, the clay left to dry and crack: expressions all of lost potential, of missed and missing art. Sounds That Escaped feels that pressure to record, to capture in intimate detail, those important moments Lind is desirous to permanise into musical language. There is a force and energy here that hastens to record, to capture and crystallise, and a counterpoint coolness that wants nothing more than to be lost in the moment and drink it in: the classic battle of the creative mind.

This is perhaps felt strongest in the strained edges of “Surface Tension”, a detailed and gorgeous number that feels miniaturised and microscopic as it turns its lens to small pond life and the activity at its surface, seeking tremulously to distil the essence of these tiny and fleeting moments. Circular piano and drone strings form the heart of the piece, a precarious equilibrium upheld alongside wobbling and frayed drama at its periphery. Calamitous tidings unfold as tiny actions seem to become hugely amplified, its sweetness and quasi-stability threatened by a breeze of lo-fi detunings that surge across its surface and shake the delicate physics of the scene as we struggle to keep up with the capture of it all.

Similarly dramatic turns are found in the thinned and wavering stringed drones of “Church Floor Upside Down”; it shimmers curiously at first, like a mirage, a reverent echo, before a forceful driver arrives in a sudden dense overhaul. The space is turned inside out, this building of worship now become an icon in of itself; religious activity decays yet the admiration of its spaces and art endures and strengthens.

This repurposing, of finding optimism in change, resonates strongly in closing album statement “Build Destroy Rebuild”: sonic textures coil and unravel and rewind and loop, drone sequences becoming bolder through reconstruction and reanimation, piano sequences retreating into twinkling contentedness at its idyllic conclusion.

We are allowed to relax in some moments, to languish in the poetic scenery of it all: lush “Metric Expansion of Space” generates endless streams of woozy drones and reversed synths, the light crystalline and distantly radiant as it stretches out into elongate drone lines that remark on the improbability of being in the vastness of it all. It’s mysteriously beautiful, engulfing us in nebulous and ethereal envelopment, angelic vocals cooing softly out of the space between stars. “Topology of Clouds” also permits a moment of reflection in its cool and withdrawn stretches that trace the seemingly solid yet dynamic cloud rims.  It moves at its own pace, the music mirroring the calmness of the sky as the strings scrape and buzz, carving out deeper and deeper tracts of white and grey in the cobalt blue, wisps becoming nimbuses with effortless grace.

None get more lost in the moment, lose more sense of reality, than opening “Sitting Down Looking Up” though. It introduces the record on a platter of distant piano strokes, tremulous evocations that swim distantly in the night air, stars flickering in the seeing. We’re lost in the curtain of sky as it implodes about us, our head held back as we lose all perspective of time and space; in a terrifying stroke we’re tumbling, falling through the oscillating sonic damage upwards out into the darkness and beyond.

Each moment is a balance between capture and consumption and we must be endlessly asking ourselves what we are choosing to do within them: do we savour this scene, commit it to memory and leave creation behind? Or do we record it and detail it, potentially leaving the enjoyment behind? Fortunately for Lind music doesn’t have to be bounded by time as we find here, revisitation of a sense made possible through imagining; but that feeling, that threat almost, still lingers. One thing’s for certain however, this gorgeous record certainly did not escape.

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