Beachers is a new project from British electronic musician Daryl Worthington. Pretend is a psychedelic funhouse, but you won’t find it in your local amusement park. It is carefully restrained in its approach, and while the music can be considered thoughtful, its thoughts aren’t always bright, optimistic flowers that shelter in the echoing park of the mind. In fact, they can have a conniving side, not entirely pleasant. Perhaps something lurks in the haunted house, with a vague uncertainty, a sixth sense, preventing you from buying the ticket.
Pretend is an electronic – ambient fusion that leans toward the darker side of music. The leader of a new tribe, Beachers introduces and exposes the listener to a splattering of experimental, electronic and ambient frequencies. Experimental aspects slither into the music – the reversed snippet of song from a strange continent, or the paper-thin rustling somewhere in the speaker. His music is a culture that we’ve never heard of and, therefore, have never had the chance to understand. Thankfully, this is our opportunity. Strange, trippy illusions insert themselves into the music. “Pretend 1” has a pumping rhythm that borders on techno, but the entering harmony keeps the lights on. The beat cuts out, the electronic cable severed. The blackout is complete. When it does come back, it’s joined by a strange, chanted chorus, abnormal in its churned out song.
There are lighter, more colorful moments (“Pretend 2”), but they are consumed by “Pretend 3” and its dragon-breathing opening. The regular, rhythmical breathing hints at something colossal, heaving with a sleepy purpose. Yet light, music-box melodies appear out of nowhere, flipping the whole experience on its head and turning it into a weird dream. They don’t just shift in pitch, they warp, becoming pale when confronted by a lower, buzzing drone. They then swoon out of existence, replaced by a bubbling cauldron of acidic liquid that distorts the music’s original tone and moulds it into sickly poison.
Beachers may be an inviting title (come on in, the water’s fine) but that’s precisely the point. The predator’s thrill of an easy meal proves all too easy, especially when the meat in question is really the bait. The predator becomes the prey, the listener becomes the hunted. Pretend shoots down paths you can’t predict, let alone plan for. Like opening the door and walking into a pitch black basement where you can’t even see the stairs, you just have to brace yourself.
There’s something not quite right, but you can’t really put your finger on it. Drones oscillate in the dead of night, joined by the whirring of machinery, the fortune teller that silently speaks your destiny. The clicking and clacking sounds in the distance may be a means of communication, but we just don’t know. They are slightly disturbing, triggering a primal instinct thousands and thousands of years in the making. “Pretend 5” is the last ride of the day, but it is a little subdued. We know that by the end of its fourteen minutes we will have driven back to the leafy, residential street we call home. There’s an off-key feeling that runs throughout, but it is fantastical music that greets the listener, waving frantically, wanting to say hi. Luckily, the story of Pretend is restricted to the music alone. It’s fiction that could’ve come from the torn pages of a Goosebumps book.
And yet, the music stays with you well into the night. A sudden recollection comes back, the glimpse of yellowing claws that urged you to come closer, to say hi. The music sticks to the inner walls of your subconscious like blue bubblegum. Let’s Pretend. (James Catchpole)
Release Date – July 7