aus ~ Everis

The magical press release for aus‘ “Until Then” states that the artist “awakens from his long slumber.”  One imagines an emaciated bear who sleeps through an entire decade, an enchanted prince under glass, or a modern day Rip Van Winkle.  The single is upbeat and nostalgic, redolent of Deep Forest, but doesn’t appear on the album; it’s a simple hello, a bonus track that appears before rather than after the main project.  Seb Wildwood’s remix ups the club ante, producing anticipation for Everis without revealing its secrets; while other electronic pieces appear on Everis, the music is a warm blend of genres, from ambient to modern composition.

The full story of aus’ ten-year hiatus is much darker, centered on a burglary that resulted in the loss of the artist’s recordings.  This traumatizing event was nearly a full sweep, leaving only fragments on the artist’s phone and memories in his mind.  What sounds like an effortless inner peace is hard-won.  The overall effect is a melange of observation and memory that arrives at a satisfying conclusion: after all that has happened, life is still good.

The album begins in a fog, broken by percussion, serenaded by strings.  “Landia” links to “Until Then” with high-pitched vocals, reminiscent of childhood.  While the album celebrates Tokyo, it seems like a citizen of the world.  aus recalls not only his formative experiences, but his travels, hand-picking the happiest memories to highlight.  He salvages sounds worth saving, including “train station ticket gates and a brass band practicing in a schoolyard.”  The album is akin to an aural photo book: the physical type in which pieces of plastic hold the photos in place.

Light vocals are woven into “Past From” ~ benign sirens who call from the beach instead of the rocks.  Four tracks in, the first truly vocal piece arrives, graced by Gutevolk (Hirono Nishiyama); but even here, the voice recedes like the tide, revealing a lovely harp.  Melbourne’s Grand Salvo follows with “Make Me Me,” singing of mirrors and memories, offering an alternate perspective:  falling away now, all the things that make me me.  

Mirroring the opening triptych, “Flo,” “Swim,” “Memories” and “Further” flow into each other like the fluidity of perspective over time.  “Swim” also arrives with a mesmerizing video from TAKCOM, where swirling music is matched by swirling visuals, dispelling any initial impression of the cover image as a simple apple.  The closing “Neanic” features Norwegian fiddler Benedicte Maurseth, and produces a sense of closure.  As the strings soar to the album’s highest moment, one feels that the harmful parts of the past have been laid to rest, while the treasured memories have been brought to the light.  (Richard Allen)

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