Of the copious entry points into Aris Kindt’s Swann and Odette, the notion of memory—in all its complex wonderment—serves as the most logical. Francis Harris and Gabe Hedrick meld an impressive range of styles to bring their Proustian evocations to life. Their compositions are lush yet skeletal, at times purely ambient, at others verging on a techno whose blueprint seems itself a fading memory. At certain points, the listener is transported to the nostalgia-ridden futures emblazoned by the vaporwave movement (where memory, specifically ideas around hauntology, are also heavily at play). Like the human mind as it becomes more fragmented with age, Aris Kindt’s music works on a principle of letting go. This music opens a space greater than silence, leads to more questions than answers; it is the sum of what’s left out.
Memory and romanticism are too easily bound. In fact, memory is hardly reliable, and as we’ve all likely come to learn it is also objective and flawed. In this light, the bleary, soft-focus atmospheres evoked by Aris Kindt feel like a timely vessel, a more sure-footed than half-sighted missive for memory’s duality. Swann and Odette, as a sonic arena for ontological introspection, sees John Stroud’s “post-structuralist pop” qualifier—you can find this in the liner notes—as most of the way there. I’m not convinced it was supposed to be read so literally, but listening to this on repeat for hours, as I am currently doing, one can’t help but slip into the abstract, to begin teasing metaphysical notions of a post-structuralist self.
Memory is intrinsic to the mind’s ability to process music. Each time we sit down with the same section of music, we add another piece to its sonic picture. Music also acts as a memory trigger, transporting us back to a singular location and time: a smoke-filled garage in autumn, or a pebble beach just as the setting sun shrouds everything in twilight. One won’t soon forget the time and place they first heard Swann and Odette. (Adrian Dziewanski)