Daniel Avery – “Together in Static” (Phantasy Sound) [June 24, 2021]

A giant of the UK electronic music scene with notable albums such as Drone Logic (2013) and Love + Light (2020), Daniel Avery bestows us with Together in Static, an astoundingly vulnerable album, via Phantasy. In a message to his Bandcamp followers on May 20, Avery describes the making of this album as a “beautiful crystal cocoon in which I could immerse myself” — not only is this album immersive, it is also a transformative experience.

Avery’s musical style seems to encompass the ambient, experimental, and industrial genres. What ties them all together is his dedication to producing with analogue equipment, giving form to abstract ideas by combining noisy waveforms with ethereal, melodic counterparts. Few producers are capable of crafting staple tracks for underground sets (just look at how many times “Naive Response” and “Diminuendo” have been downloaded) while releasing ambient tunes so accessible that, if played on the radio, would enchant even the most uninterested listener to experience an arresting, hymn-like stasis. Together in Static samples this sonic mood-shaping power of Avery’s.

The eleven tracks on this album measure the passage of time like a sundial; as each hour passed through this challenging pandemic year, the album measured its passage with shifting ratios of light and shadow in each track’s musical atmosphere; a synthesizer or two serving as the pointer?

Shadow prevails in the tracks “Fountain of Peace,” “Yesterday Faded” and “Endless Hours.” This fifth track “Fountain of Peace” begins with a misty soundscape with glowing synth pads with a slight grain. Then, like a July thunderstorm, thundering bass enters to set off an elongated “Amen” breakbeat. A haunting vocal sustains above the rubble. The track pauses around 2:20 for a deep inhale, and on the exhale, the kick resumes with more power. The effect is overwhelming when the metallic breakbeat rhythm persists at its elephantine pace.

The eighth tune “Hazel and Gold” lends levity to relative darkness. Bells and windchimes are tangled in a breeze, and a gentle bass tone illuminates with a soft glow beneath sparkling synths. Avery ingeniously composes a round by homing in on the main theme first introduced loosely by the windchimes. The theme is then replicated with a muted, mid-frequency synth sound, and again with a rumbling bass line. This simple, friendly melody is played at different times on different “instruments,” overlapping until it merges into one giant fabric of sound.

A digitized voice, perhaps the artist’s own, interjects that “hope comes in many forms” before launching into the finale. “Endless Hours” is friendliest track for technoheads with its dry hi-hats and resonant, spherical kick. “Midnight Sun” closes out one heck of an album with a sense of hope and joy. An uplifting chord progression reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine starts things off. A bouncy, Caribbean-inspired drum pattern leavens the track. Leaning into this tune, we start to believe that better things are yet to come.

Together in Static is available on most streaming platforms and bandcamp, as well as in vinyl format. 

-Lina Xing

Link – FFM.to

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