Midday Static & Faex Optim :: Double review (Self-Released/Carpe Sonum)

Combining the latest albums by Midday Static (Verichrome, Self-Released) and Faex Optim (Look Around You, Carpe Sonum) creates an utterly sublime and nostalgic reality.

Verichrome

Midday Static (aka Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Dylan Boyd) continues in his signature rich color shaping with Verichrome—a follow-up to Ektachrome (Self-Released, February 2017). It’s hard to believe that only four months have elapsed, but Midday Static proves again that when it sounds this good, it aught to be released for the world to hear. Post-rock downtempo dream-pop at its best, tracks like “Helianthus” and “Sun Spectrum” recall elements of early Ulrich Schnauss and Syntaks. The title track maneuvers about like a distant or lost cousin to “Helianthus” for some reason, but no real issue here, they’re both quite wistful. Sun-soaked guitar licks sewn to lively drums and bass—the melodies Midday Static creates are buried in delicate rhythms. “Aphelion” contains dribbling beatwork and is composed to take the listener through a myriad of pathways, its catchy stream of consciousness is relaxed, its ebb and flow unfettered. Piano keys are gently nudged on “Summertide” as field recordings of crumbling water sounds closes out this quaint time lapse. In summary, Verichrome drives the listener into a relaxed and comforting musical wave that casually tugs on memories from many, many years ago.

Look Around You

Both Midday Static and Faex Optim (aka Edinburgh, Scotland-based Wesley MacDonald) comfortably drift between the margins, however, Faex Optim delves a bit further into textural, broken ambient trip-hop forms and rusty guitar moments (ref. “Spirals.”) “Saltire Court Inaccuracy” is another fine example—replete with fractured breaks and atmospheric noises, vocal sampling clips and static tones, it is perhaps the highlight of the lot and takes me back to the early days of Deru (Trying To Remember, Merck 2004). “Obelisk” slows the mood down a little further, its down-trodden beats are widened and encapsulate sincere harmonies from yesteryear. “Mount Sharp” vacillates between eroded ambient-melodic streams and crunchy drum-work—the twisting flute sounds muffled in a verdant landscape. The somewhat out of place, and otherworldly “Tremolando” takes washed-out video-game effects and fragmented mechanical beats to the edge—a turbulent addition to an otherwise calm album. Faex Optim displays surreal views balanced with unique, natural sounds that are both uplifting and at times dramatic and transportive. A welcomed release, Look Around You is sublime downtempo worth every single minute. It’s difficult not to comment on each piece featured as they simply shower down so gracefully.

One very important thought

In closing, one very important thought comes to mind; both musicians (continue) to offer emotional sonic interludes in the one to two-minute range. These detailed audio bubbles brush against field recordings, lightened pitter-patter drones, and flecks of dust. They venture into fields of times gone by, brief moments that have faded—painting pastoral musical hues that are both real and obscure.

Perhaps both Dylan and Wesley will connect the dots (even though they are roughly 4,200 miles apart) and collaborate. What they’d create together could very well detail the next generation of adventurous abstract downtempo electronic music.

Both Verichrome and Look Around You are available on Bandcamp. Look Around You will see a CD release on Carpe Sonum in 2018.

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