LP HMS 038
A Closer Listen
A dull thump of a beat swirls around Being Near, reverberating slowly and producing even more of a staggered rhythm as it echoes, at first entrancing and then holding the listener in a deep, cosmic dream. Being Near is a strange paradise where silky evening shadows sit on the cusp of the intruding night. Ekin Fil‘s voice consistently flitters in and out of the atmosphere, but it’s difficult to say with any surety just when it arrives or when it departs. Three tracks in, her voice comes out of its shell, the dark and low-hanging harmony supporting the song. Up until this point, her haunted phrases had taken on a secondary role, but that was just scene-setting. "Being Near” is a more spacious track, but the introverted harmony is more of a hushed side street than a confined alleyway. The reverb is cavernous and it expands the area considerably, but the general timbre remains murky and the atmosphere close, the clammy tone almost sticking to the chest. The melody sways like a branch at 2 in the morning, slowly gliding around the voice, the music becoming a smoky, gentle catharsis for dreamers. It isn’t entirely pure; the lower register muddies the music a lot, the air choking with light pollutants similar to those found in a smoky jazz bar.
The fog never really lifts. It was never supposed to. The listener walks through it, every track acting as a stepping stone of sorts, her voice calling out from a different direction, or possibly even a different dimension, every time she sings. At one moment she’s in front of you, at the next, she’s behind you. You can’t really get your bearings inside the music, so the spirit lies suspended in the ether of the song. Sometimes, her voice is barely therem barely perceptible. Instead of being near, her voice is one of distance, and it makes you question its existence.
A bass pulses at regular intervals, and that provides the only grounding for these ethereal songs. It’s used as a lever, allowing the rest of the music to not only float but levitate around its fog-laden surroundings, darkly glimmering. A passionate seduction and the amorality of an illicit desire envelop the music, the aromatic tones arriving like a hand-delivered love letter to the listener. It blushes and whispers, drawing tight circles of lust around the music, and even though it’s not a particularly warm record, a little heat shimmers out of the music, escaping into the night. The reverb is heavy and overcast, and it coats everything in its misty rain. As always, her vocals are affected (and infected) by it, too. "Stranger Than Them” is another track that manages to contain itself; together with her shy song-craft, the music is a good marriage. The lyrics never overstretch or wear themselves out. On the contrary, they’re somewhat reserved. A song structure still exists, but everything is delayed by a fatiguing reverb washing continuously outwards and over the spine of the music, like a tide that’s forgotten its motion. -- James Catchpole