The modern world is swamped by skittish, lazy, and infrequently well-meaning attempts to direct our fellow human beings towards ideas of living mindfully, compassionately and well. But where are those championing our final weak moments? Our enfeebled pulse? Our croaking death rattle?
This is where P.E.A.R.L. comes in.
The title of the LP speaks volumes. It simultaneously nods to the sombre and chaste whilst acknowledging the flirtatious nature within. It scratches the itch around a healing scab. Temptation Through Impatience is in fact inspired by Ars Moriendi (The Art of Dying), written by an anonymous 15th century Dominican friar. But instead of adhering to the friar’s rules, the album seems to be an attempt to exorcise any previous dalliances with the five temptations (lack of faith, despair, impatience, spiritual pride, and avarice, all present here in track title form).
The album is the latest offering from the head honcho of the Berlin-based Falling Ethics label. The Spanish producer uses thumping techno, sleek drones and thudding kicks in his reflections. The music lurches and churns hypnotically, teasing comfort and dread as if borne on a sturdy bed floating across cloud-darkened skies. The pounding rhythms combine jittery agitation with an undercurrent of despair. The sounds skitter and overlap in a flurried bid for catharsis. Cold rumbles are frantically interrupted by bolshy staccato synth stabs, drawing out scrunched-eye anxiety that sobs of paranoia and distrust. On more than one occasion the music captures the fleeting fear of trying to swap paper for pills in a strobe-slashed room as strangers hurriedly brush past.
As we move deeper, there appears to be a greater leaning towards soul-cleansing, of dealing with the dark roots of disconsolateness rather than simply playing in hopeful stratospheres. Twisted claustrophobic beats weave through glassy keys, opening up a headspace which at first seems smothering but then grows softly reassuring. The shift embraces the futility of ancient ritual in a western world where death is still a taboo; where psychosis, anxiety, and depression serve up daily dilemmas that seem detached from 600 year old doctrines. But perhaps this isn’t the case. Perhaps giving oneself up to something greater, a higher power, something spiritual, could well be the solution for which P.E.A.R.L. is striving: losing one’s self in worship amidst a baying congregation, facing a curator, an orchestrator, a saviour distributing salvation within damp stone walls. If this all seems familiar, then somewhere a monk is smiling. (Jon Buckland)