Vancouver’s Jordan Sauer, under the name Segue, returns with The Here And Now. Arriving out of Paris on French label Sem, Segue’s music rests with hushed melodies and clipped beats. Beautiful, breathy harmonies glow faintly, and the presence of the beat is cute rather than cutting.
Segue is so good at this light, understated music that he sends the listener into a dream state. He specializes in dub techno, but his music is sprayed with pretty pop melodies that blossom at just the right time. The Here And Now is chilled out, the beats just cruising. Earth green tones are sprinkled over the drones, and at times his music is more in tune with ambient than it is with techno. It’s a beautiful circle that encompasses steady rhythms and the latest beats with the fresh, virginal air.
2013’s Pacifica was one of the gems of the year, and Segue is likely to repeat the feat in 2014. Sure, his music is beat-driven, but it has soul, which is something that many electronic beats just don’t have. The pounding rhythm can become tiring, and can sometimes come across as robotic. The rhythms enter the world with no real understanding of the music that surrounds it, coming straight out of the computer’s womb with no real emotion attached to it. Segue’s music radiates with soul, singing in harmony with itself and its creator in its electronic, emotional voice. It’s sure-footed and knows just who it is, convinced of its destiny.
Softer, bright-eyed guitar melodies sit beside the swirling loop in “Turning Patterns”. Whirling around the music, a loop infuses with a hovering drone of substance before the calming tempo comes to join them. They never compete for space. In fact, the rhythm is quiet, and has no intention of taking control. He’s 100% in tune with the music, and the silky track has just the right feel. For some reason, techno can take itself quite seriously; its beats are strict and tight. Segue’s beats are a little looser as he injects them with a little bit of fun.
“All At Once” and its harmonious loop echoes from far away, like a distant fog horn or diluted siren that has lost its shrill, piercing shriek, only to be replaced by a placid, breezy tone that echoes serenely. Bells tinkle and chime, kissing the music softly. Elsewhere, “Sometimes” just keeps it going. The rhythms, like the rest on the album, are alive with a refreshing sensitivity, which is something we don’t usually see.
A downpour of rain can be heard on “Flood”, but the gorgeous, clip clop rhythm and a stable, sure drone capture the ear, providing a beacon of light to illuminate some dark skies. A warm rainbow of drone paints phosphorescent colours against the beat, the drone seeming to glow spectacularly. At the heart of Segue’s sound is a kind blush, warmer than body heat. If the album consisted of this track alone, it’d be worth the asking price.
Nothing lasts forever. Like castles in the sand, his beats never stay for long. It makes you appreciative that there are musicians like Segue still out there. The Here And Now is easy on the eye, the ear and is easy to enjoy. Segue specializes in vaporous beauty; his slower rhythms are always drenched in a positive spirit, a vitality, and with a cautious optimism it sings of casual days spent in the cool Parisian rain. (James Catchpole)