Review: Ekca Liena – Slow Music for Rapid Eye Movement

Originally released in 2008, Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement is Ekca Liena’s ambitious 75-minute debut. It doesn’t so much forge its own signature imprint than flick the lights up on an endless panoramic landscape of Mackenzie’s own making, with the music starting off in expansive ambient terrain and only venturing out further. Before the listener even realises it, their pensive, night-time stroll across a desolate coastline becomes an ascent into the night itself, drifting up toward the stars and ever advancing into a daunting galactic infinity.

It’s the gradual disintegration of melody and familiar timbres that makes this journey traceable. “Fire Emerging From Mist” builds itself up from a solemnly strummed acoustic chord progression, which only deepens in emotional impact as it recurs and coaxes glistening synthesizers into life. But by the time the track reaches its most dense and climactic point, the initial guitar melody is only identifiable as a whispery haze that drifts ghost-like through the umpteen layers of electronics. The structures and shapes that anchor the music to earth become distant, reverent echoes, while colossal synthesizer waves sweep across unfathomable distances – resembling planets in slow orbit, and bringing to mind the deep space ambience of Steve Roach.

It’s gorgeously structured; tracks blend together effortlessly, and Slow Music… only drops into total silence as it reaches its conclusion. It’s at this point that the listener is planted back within the tangible limitations of reality – like all good escapist listening experiences, the album is followed by a moment of adjustment, in which the sprawling mental visuals fade gradually and reintroduce the corporeal surroundings that Slow Music… effortlessly encourages you to neglect.