Endless Melancholy ~ The Vacation

There’s only one copy of the reel-to-reel used for this album ~ the perfect artifact for the score to an empty world.  But one can feel the warmth even on the CD (in lovely book form, seen below) and on the cassette.  The Vacation is based on a Ray Bradbury story of the same name, which lends the tracks its titles.  A man, woman and child awaken to a world seemingly without other people, and roam endlessly, as if on vacation.  Such a situation may inspire joy (Bokeh), fear (The Last Man on Earth), or in this case, melancholy ~ which coupled with the seemingly eternal circumstances makes Endless Melancholy the perfect artist to tackle the project.

What would you do in this situation?  Would you travel to expensive locales, drape yourself in diamonds, cover yourself in caviar?  Would you set yourself up in a beach house, hoard toys, smoke cigars all day?  Or might you get a little bit lonely?  After a while, the lack of human contact would likely seep in ~ unless your family was strong enough to stand the isolation.

Oleksiy Sakevych focuses on the heartache.  His compositions are drenched in static, like abraded signals, the detritus of broadcasts and interstellar transmissions.  There’s no one left.  This is the last time these wonders will be seen through human eyes.  Was it God or man that caused the catastrophe ~ and was this deserved?  Should the family attempt to repopulate, or live out their life span? The sub-surface melodies are respectful yet forlorn, an elegy to the lost.

The family trundles on, adopting a trolley as their means of transportation.  The world rushes by, but not that quickly.  There’s still enough time to appreciate what remains ~ sunflowers, meadows, “stillness mixed with stillness.”  Yet there is also love, as intimated by the piano, which takes its time to appear and plays only plaintive notes; and in the fitting cover art by Lita Akhmetova, which wraps the family in a halo.  Why hurry when there is all the time in the world?

Endless Melancholy’s stretched chords underline the dual sense of sadness and slowness.  In this fast-paced world, Bradbury’s story (first published in 1963) is more timely than ever.  We all claim that we need a vacation, but would we spend it in this way, or squander it with swiftness?  The wistfulness of this album implies that we will fail again and again, but that there is such beauty in our failure.  Such noble, ignorant beauty.  (Richard Allen)

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