Review: David Newlyn – The Misspelled Numbers

The release date of The Misspelled Numbers is supposedly 1912, according to the release page up on Wist Rec. The EP doesn’t sound like times of old – the various bleeps and other electronic touches place the music very much in the now or recent past – but rather seems to capture the process of remembering; hallucinatory voyages into a past life, blurred and partially obscured by time’s erosion on one’s powers of recollection. In a way, it’s a constant failing. The memories are misshaped – caught within a tumble of echoes or inflected with fizzling static, all of which bring voice to the imperfections and inaccuracies that plague the medium of memory.

The music is largely informed by rich washes of major key – glowing within soft piano chords, surging up through muffled string quartets – providing a central warmth around which the sounds of factory noise, motor vehicles, loose wires and distant voices can congregate. Just like the process of memory itself, melody adopts a fragile presence: sometimes ringing clear as vivid motifs and loops, sometimes receding into the background to become a more ghostly string of chordal exchanges, during which the images impressed onto memory are at their most mercurial and indistinct.