Tuesday, July 14, 2020
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Artist: Y. G. Hanedan (@)
Title: The Voyage
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDbaby
Rated: *****
The voyage to which this album's title refers is, its description elaborates, "an imaginary post-modern vehicle journey". Its ten stages are clearly titled as references to various stages on this adventure. For instance, 'The Dark Forest', 'Barren, Damp Hilltops' and 'Stopped to See a Distant Storm' conjure images of tangible landmarks, while 'Faint Images of the Past' or 'Curtain Flap over Anxiety' seem to tell more of the emotional state of the traveller. The tinge of noir is enhanced by the cover image: the lights of a solitary vehicle (difficult to make out, but I reckon it's a metro train) vanishing into darkness.

Hanedan's palette of sounds is highly consistent thoughout The Voyage; from many instances of similar effects to the recurrence of the same melodies and loops over multiple pieces, it all feels tightly woven together from the same fabric. Slow and somewhat aimless, each piece is simply structured but texturally dense and, occasionally, very peculiar. The first six tracks are all buffeted by similar layers of thick, rapid shudders. On 'Curtain Flap over Anxiety', these are mixed with a high-pitch beeping that filters in and out of range, a lonesome guitar section, an occasional synth wail and several other textures. These unrelated elements produce a disorientating narrative; at once sophisticated, naive, atmospheric, elegant and awkward.

That the ten pieces are self-contained rather that mixed, and that each has an ambient structure rather than conveying much movement, seem to be obstructions to the notion of the album overall as a journey. But seen as vignettes, as moments languished at the stations or bus stops punctuating the journey, as well as on long, unchanging roads protracted by tedium, by exhaustion and by the night; watching passers-by and overhearing conversations - then they begin to make sense. If it were possible to make field recordings of someone's subjective experience of a half-remembered night of noisy, gritty transportation and gloomy reverie, they might very well sound like the remarkable chapters of this album.


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