The music of Gidge flows like a stream, streams like sunlight, and rolls like mountains. The USA’s Pacific Northwest is the inspiration for the second full-length release from this Umeå, Sweden duo, whose growing discography also includes EPs and a film score. The forest images hold unintended resonance due to the recent fires in this area, which burned a record four million acres in the past month. Many of these trees, older than their nation, are now lost forever.
Gidge’s music bears a restorative power. Perhaps best played in an open vehicle while traveling through the great outdoors, New Light offers rejuvenation through calm and consistency. Tracks overlap each other like fallen leaves. For the duration of the album, all seems right with the world. The sparse vocals ~ used more as texture than as lyric ~ hearken back to the work of diverse artists such as The Orb and even the much-maligned Chicane, whose unapologetically gorgeous singles graced many a (physical) playlist two decades ago. While everything from the production values to the recognizable now-ness of the composition place it in the contemporary realm, the nostalgic touches produce a sense of warmth.
Because the set is so well-segued, it’s hard to pull out single tracks. The two early singles, the title and closing tracks, are solid representatives, but cannot convey the strength of the set as a whole. For that, one must let the record spin. “Quasar” tops a rollicking groove with male and female vocal snippets. One imagines assembling them like puzzle pieces. The transition to “New Light” is barely perceived. The beats pause momentarily for the ambience to seep in, but the rhythms are as tall as the trees. “Come,” invites the leader of “Stone|Shell.” The wilderness awaits. In the ten-minute “Perimeter,” ambient seeds sprout into dancing flowers. Such grandeur echoes that of the spruces and pines; as other trees lose their color, then their leaves, those of the Pacific Northwest stand tall, true and ever green. (Richard Allen)