Overlapse comes to us from the Portuguese netlabel Enough Records (“Free Music For Free People”), whose philosophy we somewhat agree with (free is nice) and somewhat not (we like our vinyl!). But any label that brings us fine music is a fine label, and there is a way to send money to the artist in return for a deluxe edition with bonus tracks, so everyone wins.
The primary release is a seven-track suite; a pair of “Sustain” tracks and three “Decay” tracks are bracketed by “Attack” and “Release”. As expected, the prelude is a slow growler, featuring waves of reverberated guitar. But as its last echoes fade, things begin to grow a lot more interesting. Static bubbles seem ready to burst: fragmented glints of sound, transmitted through rusting speakers. One can imagine these frequencies struggling to be understood through the distorted crackle of the cover’s loudspeaker. “Sustain I” retains the static, now down to a drizzle, but introduces clipped bell tones which repeat like music boxes found in the ashes of an apocalypse. A post-compositional mentality is at work here, as tone grows more important than melody, impression more crucial than tune.
Shore waves lap at the edges of “Sustain I”, paving the way for the transition to sand crunch textures in “Sustain II”. These may be field recordings, but if so, they have undergone drastic manipulation. “Decay I” also begins with watery sounds, but this triptych is more focused in nature, with purer, longer notes and a tone more ambient than drone. The third section features the sound of what may be a respirator, calling into question the theme of the entire recording: could this be a life, beginning as lone notes struggling to break free, flourishing in its middle sections and finally fading as a series of measured breaths? The end of the third section revisits the end of the prelude, effectively closing the circle. But then the finale – clear notes at last, rage, rage, the piano insisting on structure, quiet percussion setting the frame, then bursting its boundaries. Is this the summary of a life, a last spurt of energy, a rise into the great unknown? As a swarm of drones descends upon the ivories, we can only wonder, and hope to find someone to supply us with such a sendoff. (Richard Allen)