Review: Sun Araw – Belomancie

Sun Araw - BelomancieAt 1:44 into opener “Scrim”, everything cuts out apart from a ungated buzz wobbling out of a left-side amplifier. It bobs up and down as it navigates through a vibrato pedal, idly nodding, jaws open and awaiting the warm, bubbling shapes of signal. The illustrious, hallucinatory nature of my mental imagery – inflatable rainforests, rainbow swamps – is shattered for a moment, thrusting me back into the recording space where Sun Araw casts silhouettes of cartoon tribes with an array of familiar tools: instruments, metal boxes, wires, buttons. Belomancie is music by people, and sometimes that’s easy to forget. Guitars and percussion bounce ecstatically like balloons in a breeze, while the leaping, jeering attitude of some of those melodies could be transcribed from the squawks of alien birds – it’s a warm welcoming ceremony from a tribal other, keen to exhibit the allure of a rhythmic sensibility and melodic communication that sits at odds with my own.

The music has a busy, rubberised sort of movement. I feel like I’m at London Waterloo at rush hour, while commuters encircle and bustle me on space hoppers; instruments spring off one another, as synthesisers propel themselves of bubbles of bass, showering arpeggiation droplets on their way up. Some tracks end up sounding like electro-funk dispersed with a toy hammer (“Solo Wallet Shuffle”), while the collage of the title track is a patchwork of felt flutes, helicopter birdsong, synthesiser blades and bowed news channel idents – in both cases, the music is in constantly in motion, fluctuating, dissipating, reappearing, all within the moist membrane of a solitary state. Most prominently it makes me think of a sponge – porous, squidgily reshaped as it presses into matter, perforated with tiny pockets of exhalation and radio noise that bring a vibrant, three-dimensional sense of now to a music that otherwise sways giddily between past and present.