The disconnection between the hemispheres becomes even more apparent with Feral Media’s Spring EP, the follow-up to August’s Winter EP. In New York, we’ve just experienced the first frost, so talk of spring seems premature, until one realizes that it’s spring in Australia right now. This seems like an apt lesson for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder, stuck in a spiritual winter. The sun is shining somewhere. Better days will come. In one hemisphere, the birds are flying away. In other, they are flying back.
When asked to describe springlike music, many people would mention ambience, acoustic guitar, twinkles and birdsong. These elements are each present in segments of Spring, but the beats rule the roost. Nimble Animal’s “Time Scraper” is decidedly off-putting, the soundtrack for colder hearts that prefer to remain, as the narrator intones, “frozen in time”. Still an ever-present pulse beats like the heart of a hibernating bear.
Nakagin’s “Bloom” is more traditionally spring-like, beginning with footsteps, children and birds. Bordering on chill-out, the piece offers a relaxing vibe and stable presence. In contrast, Pimmon’s “Yitterbium” (a chemical element) launches in an agitated fashion, all hyperactive beats and rough edges; but as its ambient tide washes in, the song develops a soul. By Tim Shiel’s “General Practice”, a relaxed sense is present; the snows have melted, the shoots have begun to appear. The quietest of the quartet, the track still incorporates offbeat synthetic sounds, like vapor from a visiting spacecraft.
I’ve intentionally mentioned the songs in reverse order. Next for the Northern Hemisphere: winter. Next for the Southern: summer. I’ll be reviewing the next EP in the cold. (Richard Allen)