Gacha :: Send Two Sunsets (Apollo)

The Apollo signing, the cover art, the recent singles under his Bakradze moniker, the stunning transparent blue vinyl, all of it struck a Pavlovian string that was left to quaver for months on end. With that level of emotional attachment it’s difficult to render a satisfying verdict. “Duras” makes the entire affair worthwhile on its own, it is simply that good. Despite any overt influences, the album has an unmistakable depth that is worth exploring.

Gacha :: Send Two Sunsets (Apollo)

A Russian friend of mine once joked that Eastern Europe experiences to this day a strange breed of cultural time warping, where memes and tropes from the West take roughly four to five years to filter over the Urals to the heart of the Warsaw Pact zone. At first listen, Gacha Bakradze’s latest album Send Two Sunsets seems to have fallen victim to this temporal distortion at the song level. “Bliss” evokes Dive era Tycho, the title track dredges up hazed college dorm room memories of M83, and “Duras” is a remarkable Four Tet/Percussions impression. Accusations of impersonation seem inevitable. This problem becomes even more pronounced considering that much of the initial excitement surrounding Gacha was generated from his singles “Remember” and “Bowl,” which attracted widespread attention for that distinct freshness of sound that surfaces but once in a long while. However, while Send Two Sunsets isn’t without its homages, Gacha’s production style manages to entwine itself gracefully branch to branch amongst those long standing forest giants.

Let’s return to “Duras” for the moment because it is a fundamentally gorgeous piece of music and the spine upon which the rest of the album stands. The aquatic looped piano sampling and graceful arpeggios gliding over the dense and complex beat structure do bear a lot of similarity to Hebden’s kaleidoscope aesthetic. But “Duras” evolves, or rather blossoms over its six and a half minute duration in a way that is entirely Gacha’s. Think sped up BBC Natural History Unit footage of deciduous undergrowth; Attenborough’s narration is absent but his presence still lingers in the footage. This track refuses to get comfortable. Minute variations emerge at an arresting rate, never deviating far from the center but always teasing at new possibilities.

Another aspect of Send Two Sunsets that has produced hesitant reactions is the apparent lack of the guitar melodies that made Gacha’s work stand out initially. This seems unfounded though: while it isn’t featured as heavily as expected, it is certainly there when it needs to be. Gacha does an excellent job of strategically deploying his guitar skills when they have the space to become an organic part of the mix and refraining when shoehorning becomes a risk. Incorporating that sort of live instrumentation amongst electronic assets is a delicate balancing act few can manage successfully, and Gacha makes it work. “Let Me Love You” is perhaps the best example of this; the piano and guitar form a natural duet that compliments the emerging beat.

This album was without a doubt one of my most anticipated releases of 2015. The Apollo signing, the cover art, the recent singles under his Bakradze moniker, the stunning transparent blue vinyl, all of it struck a Pavlovian string that was left to quaver for months on end. With that level of emotional attachment it’s difficult to render a satisfying verdict. “Duras” makes the entire affair worthwhile on its own, it is simply that good. Despite any overt influences, the album has an unmistakable depth that is worth exploring.

Send Two Sunsets is available on Apollo.

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