Review: Mingle – Ephemeral

The rhythms are the only solid objects here. Structurally, they’re beautiful – assembled from dozens of tiny electronic samples, each providing its own syncopated inflection or rigorous emphasis. Dub-slow and deliberate. As they recur, the advancement develops a sense of urgency: ticking like a gigantic robot clock, galloping across the shifting plain of the present. Initially, the passing of time is a peripheral haunt. Over the course of these five-minute pieces, it grows into a disturbing central concern, gathering new taps and thumps as it rolls forth, measuring my progress toward extinction with ever-increasing accuracy.

Yet everything else on this record is more uncertain. Mingle smears detail around the edges: barely-played pianos, synthesisers evaporated into echo, white noise stretched into translucent sheets. Occasionally I can hear the crystallisation of certain chords, but otherwise these sounds hover between tonal states, ambiguous in their balance of melancholy and uplift. They float across my hearing like fog obscuring the hard outlines of city streets, masking street lamps in plumes of turquoise and purple. There are electronic sub-melodies tucked into the back, quietly subverting the chords that sidle across the front; muffled drones that press into eachother like two clouds becoming one. From this amassment of intricacy and ambient indeterminacy, Mingle conjures the spectre of prevalent sensations. Light sweeps of anxiety. Slow descents into regret. Faint promises of positive change. These atmospheres are just barely implied from the tides of reverberant texture, like those bad feelings and acts of faith that rise, mysteriously, from within the machinery of human instinct. Amidst the album’s irrefutable forward drive, these wisps of prophetic mood insinuate the presence of something much greater and stranger, the origins of which are never entirely clear.

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