Euglossine ~ Coriolis

You know how Pop Art tricks you into thinking it’s very simple while in fact being extremely complex? How all those images of comics expanded into huge canvases allude to certain forms of abstraction, or how those reproductions of publicity question the very foundations of what art might or might not be? How, in other words, the surface might hide all sorts of riches we ignore in favor of what we might find in the depths? Euglossine’s surreal collage of styles provoked in me that very same reaction, with its smooth jazz melodies and its light electronic harmonies luring me to dig deeper, to ask myself where all of its uncanny non-clichés might lead. But if you’ve ever seen a painting and been moved, you already know I was asking the wrong question, because what is superficial, what is pure surface, is almost always a world in itself, like the grand doors of cathedrals or the antique facades of buildings whose history has been hollowed out, rendering them more interesting than what lies beyond.

Coriolis moves at the pace of cloud-watching, its juxtapositions not a chance encounter between a sewing machine and an umbrella upon a table for dissection, but one between an old VCR tape of a beach and a bird’s song upon the seabed: its beauty comes not from the shock of the new but its pleasure. It is common to think that the unknown causes fear and disturbs the mind – thus the stridency of avant-garde art and its relationship to the public – but there’s another fundamental element to it best explored by movements like Pop and which Euglossine aptly develops in this album, and which is, simply put, the comfort one might find in the uncertain. It’s counterintuitive, because comfort is usually associated to conservative dispositions of staying in your zone and listening to something that will not challenge your mind. However, what Euglossine’s sunny surrealism achieves is granting all these ‘conservative’ musics with an edge that does not cut but soothes, drawing the clichéd tones of new age and smooth jazz away from their own failings, turning them into points of interest for an uncanniness that inverts the sinister, turning something unpleasurable (at least for snobs like me) into its opposite. This is the work those tones were meant to do all along, instead of constantly reifying the business of feeling good in a world that treats us horribly. Euglossine’s surrealism has freed these sounds for their true purpose, so that we may feel good in opposition to that world.

Like the effect referred to in the title, which thanks to the particularities of the Earth’s rotation makes ungrounded objects (say, like hurricanes and other weather phenomena) move according to the variable speeds between poles, these tracks trace a path of sinuous movement across genres and styles without ever disrupting them or throwing them into disarray. The variability in each track is a wonderful aspect of getting lost upon the surface, happily journeying throughout a bright soundscape as if existentialist questions were no longer relevant (imagine that), allowing us to find vital meanings elsewhere than the abyss, in a place of comfort. “Eternal Mouse”, for example, flows around a Pat Metheny guitar and a sweet prog-rock synth melody that should clash with the repetition and short development of its main theme, and yet it works well as a fast, psychedelic interlude between the much more peaceful fusion of “Naturalist” and the muffled jazzy ambience of “Boudreaux”. Just like opener “Blue Dream” sets a clear-cut, synthy, cool 80s trippy vibe, album finisher “World Behind the Eyes” veers into a playful darkness, of the spooky kind you’d find in the haunted house level of a SNES videogame; the collage is not naïve, but neither is it against naiveté, and the pleasurable clash of sounds it produces draws our consciousness closer to the endless possibilities of comfortable action. Most interestingly, perhaps, it also points at the sheer wealth of those things we thought were worthless, questioning our wrongful commonplace equivalence between hardship and meaningfulness, affirming the joy and power of the things that announce themselves as nothing more than what they seem. The inside is important, sure, but it is our skin who first receives the sun’s caress. (David Murrieta Flores)

One comment

  1. Original tracks that keep you guessing. 🙂

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