Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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flica: Sub:Side

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Artist: flica
Title: Sub:Side
Format: CD
Label: Schole (@)
Rated: *****
Five years after "Weekendary", a co-production by Mü-Nest, the Kuala Lampur-based indipendent label which launched his debut 11 years ago, and Shibuya-based indie label Inpartmaint Inc., the Malaysian composer Euseng Seto aka flica reappeared on Akira Kosemura's imprint Schole last year for "Sub:Side", an album that could also be considered a way to celebrate his first decade of activity, but also another stage of his creative path. Over this path, he met the bassist Kent Lee and the subsequent collaboration brought the extensive usage of improvised loops, that he begun to integrate on live stage during his tour in China and Japan, before integrating them in the compositional process. The main features, that many listeners who immediately fell in love with the sound of this artist, are unchanged yet, but flica seems to move his lovely sound towards a more lo-fi and minimal approach, as if he understood that keeping the composition simple is a good way to render the melancholy, that often featured his music. Such a neat and somehow functional approach doesn't imply a renunciation of a certain stylistic diversification. The opening "Listener" crosses the statistical territories of groups like the Icelandic band Múm by its delicate balance between crackling percussions, ambient breezes and chidplay melodies, while the style of the following track "Moor" by its balanced union of three complementary piano lines, the chiming guitar lines and its beats could remind some stuff that got pushed by Expanding Records by artists like Monoceros, Benge or Cathode more than a decade ago. The track that gets closer to flica aesthetics, if you had any chance to listen to his previous albums, is maybe "Aire", a track where any element get inserted in a flawless pattern that will be led by an airy string towards an ambient suite, while instrumental parts gradually fade out. A softened kick drum that acts like an enzyme in the childish reverie, which can be sparkled by the other resounding elements (particularly the sustained bass chords by Kent Lee), features the following track "Waver". The frail delicacy of a bunch of piano tones that gets turned into a sort of harp by a wisely modulated delay and echo, fosters the lulling evanescent melody of "Whisperer". The slow chimes and the following expanding piano chords hides the structural complexity of "GMT+o", that becomes clear with the introduction of beats and ambiance. Some unexpected dim lights appear on the following "Sputnik", where only a kalimba-like percussive melody adds some lights on the seemingly saddest track of the album. "Wednesday" and "336 Hours" don't shine in their own reflection, as they are based on the shuffling of ideas, that sometimes got better expressed in some previous tracks, while on the final "Nephilim" a surprising bluesy touch got added to flica's sound.


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