Dislocations by Pascal Savy

Release date: May 4, 2018
Label: Experimedia

“Do we miss not only the past but every future the lost past describes? Is that just the nature of missing? All the lost might-have-beens? The certainty that those uncertain futures are gone?”

Mark Z. Danielewski, The Familiar Pt. 3: Honeysuckle and Pain

It’s been four years since Pascal Savy’s last record – Adrift – and, on first listen, there would appear to be certain textural similarities between that exploration of a fictional island and his new album, Dislocations. Terraforming sound waves merge and spark sonic flares into existence as bulbous bass drifts and bulges its way through a decaying space. There is an impression of unwieldiness. Like dragging a sunken ocean liner through countless tonnes of salted water. And it is within this sense of raising the submerged and of scouring the past that signals a change in focus and intent for Savy.

The works of Mark Fisher (the tragically deceased author of the astute k-punk blog), Jacques Derrida, and the ideas inherent to Hauntology (a concept concerned with “nostalgia for lost futures”) all seem to be well-illuminated touchstones for this release on the crucial drone and experimental label, Experimedia. With track titles such as ‘Echoes of a Black Hole Eating a Star’, ‘The Slow Cancellation of The Future’, and ‘Retrograde Amnesia’, there is an indisputable through line. Misty eyes are cast backwards with a wistful lens mourning a future squandered.

The opening cut on Dislocations wonderfully mimics the perceived ascendancy, fall, and disappearance of the utopian ideals as described by Fisher in his books Capitalist Realism and Ghosts of My Life. Straining top end drones dissolve into a rhythmic flush of burgeoning mids. Sounds creep from the speakers like apparitions clambering from smouldering rubble. The ghostly wend of sustained notes calls to mind an optimistic rise from ashes. But there is a resigned weight to it too. As if pessimism’s scent has caused nostrils to wrinkle and eyes to narrow whilst looking around distrustingly as those sounds, that seemed so certain to soar, now descend into obscurity.

Other musicians, such as Burial and, more recently, The Caretaker, have also wrestled with this concept of forging something from the lost past. And on the second track, Savy is seemingly squaring-up to William Basinski, an undeniable heavyweight of this world, with the inversion of Basinski’s David Bowie-honouring record – A Shadow In Time. ‘Shadows Out Of Time’ is an unsettling subterranean throb that agitates loose ground. There is a considerable violence between the attempted serenity and that earthly rumble. A battle for domination. Both striving for centre stage whilst seemingly unaware that their clash consists of beauty itself. From devastation, creation. Bubbled ponderings putter out from the carnage.

Vitally, Pascal Savy has also added an enticing human element to these towering structures of sound. What might initially appear as great forbidding slabs of immutable vibrations, the work of a fastidious architect constructing cloud-bothering edifices, reveals upon repeated listens a subtle emotional thread that transcends the cold totality of fatalism. In the wake of yearning for a benevolent utopia, mounts a belief in humanity, in community, in personal change extrapolating into social improvement. This is most evident on album closer – ‘Allow The Light’ (the title of which should be clue enough of Savy’s optimistic leanings) – lush sheets of shimmering chords propel and prop up one another, all reaching up towards the seemingly unobtainable. Knowing that within the simple act of trying lies a power that is invigorating, that is inspiring, and that is ultimately transformative. A sanguine methodology for realigning with a world still capable of surprising you.

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