Yair Etziony – We Were Here Before, We Will Be Here After
Israeli Artist Yair Etziony’s previous releases fizz and buzz and click.
Here on We Were Here Before, We Will Be Here After, the producer makes a suite of more formal soundtracks, where the microsounds are turned down a little to be integrated into filmic soundscapes.
I played this release driving through one of the most impressive sections of road in Scotland – the Tyndrum to Glencoe sequence that every Highland visitor knows. It fits.
As I drove deeper into the Glencoe Valley the heartbeats of the second track thumped nicely with the glacially-carved hills. Only writing this up now did I realise the track name was Mountains of Debris and while the debris I was looking at were rivers of scree – weather beaten and powdered rock leaking down the rock faces, I realised mountain vistas were almost the perfect place to premiere the album.
Brooding exploratory themes permeate the record. A sense of being moved through tunnels and shifting scenes accompanied by polished glitches and glassy production evokes an absorbing Nordic Noir or sci-fi narrative, one that isn’t exactly dystopian but isn’t wholly to be trusted.
Laboratories, white rooms, fluorescent lights. Scalpels and trays of medical equipment. The compositions generally hold steady, and minor keys are balanced and fleshed out with stable strokes and purposeful production.
The rise in cerebral popular Sci Fi – Netflix’s DARK, Black Mirror, DEVS et al, has generated a market for producers of this kind of visually evocative music, and the material Sven Laux has been been putting out on the fledgling Seasides on Postcards label is starting to profile a set of releases with a new generation of dub-influenced soundsmiths.
If there’s one minor criticism of this and the sister releases – it’s that I find the glossy production, (including the hi-lustre of CD packaging) perhaps a little too ‘finished’ and sometimes the production could do with a little more organic grit to allow the sound design to breathe. While it is a house style, I worry it is neutering the music a little.
On the other hand, there’s a recognisable continuity through the releases which isn’t easy to do these days. And it’s a very minor gripe. I’d also like a little more information on the CD about the process, let’s bring some text into the frame.
But in the context of modern outlets for, as I mentioned, film soundtrack production, these releases easily fit quality narratives and storytelling spaces. It’s nice to have a properly assembled digipack too. I still don’t feel a release is a release unless it has a physical element and We Were Here Before, We Will Be Here After is a worthy chapter in the Seaside on Postcards adventure.