Soothing and challenging in alternate measures, Daniel Blomquist’s two-track Nascent/Egress is an exercise in erasure and composure, a series of movements abraded like glass in the waves until it possesses a new allure.
This happens. This is something that happens. The sparse narration lends the album the feel of a book, but not just any book ~ a book that has been found on the shore, ink smeared, pages torn out, spine bent and frayed. With no title or author, one is drawn into the mystery. Did a trauma occur? How did the protagonist survive? And yet, this is not a frightening recording, but a hopeful one. Help – as clear as a whispered voice and as shaded as a shaven loop – is apparent at every turn. It’s as if Blomquist wrote the album for a loved one in empathy and as consolation. Just as everything is about to break, emotions erupting and sorrow spilling forth, a soft reassurance is provided, like a soft hand on a stooped shoulder. I’ll bring you back.
Blomquist’s orchestral loops can be heartrending, but they are balanced by unusual field recordings, scrubbed of recognition. One thinks one hears a bird, a wave, a footstep in a thicket, but one is never sure. The emotional landscape is clearer. Blomquist refers to his music as reflecting “the changing composition of matter”, but the phrase can also refer to mood. When sentences arrive from different speakers (right and left), one senses a dialogue, as likely internal as external. What to think of these sounds is less important as how to feel. In this sense, the fogged miasma comes across as a reflection of emotional processing, working its way toward resolution.
One’s appreciation of the album may hinge on one’s interpretation of the cover. Are the skies clearing or clouding? Is the boat stranded or docked? A clue may be found in the liner notes, which reference the stages of grief. The final stage, acceptance, is the port that Blomquist seeks. In the end, he seems to have found his safe haven, yet restless, he immediately yearns to set sail again. (Richard Allen)