Permanence, from musician and producer Guy Andrews, is one continuous flow of music, an uninterrupted outpouring which covers a multitude of differing attitudes and moods throughout its thirty-minute duration. Due to its abstract nature, listeners are able to find different meanings and new thoughts with each playthrough.
Andrews primarily works with abstract electronics, and his compositions actively pursue deeper truths. For Andrews, music is meaningful, with every phrase containing a vital answer or a direct stab at understanding, and it’s personal to the point of being autobiographical. He eschews demands or expectations in favour of seeking out a specific sound – one that calls to him and him alone. Andrews disregards the commercialisation of music, or the pressures inherent within the creative process, and Permanence thrives because of its freedom. In Permanence, Andrews has realised what’s important and what really isn’t, and the resulting textures and fused sounds are fearsome things to behold.
Constructed from a series of individual textures which all mould together (and creating a surprisingly strong and resilient sound), Permanence evolves as it progresses, the drums kicking into high gear as other electronic currents run through a maze of crimson-coloured circuitry, throbbing and pulsing with high intensity. This is his language, his way of processing emotions. Speaking about the album, Andrews says, ‘Permanence is a body of work inspired by and written during a period of positive personal growth, as much as it is of loss and grief. It is a body of work that symbolises and articulates the constant evolution of relationships, people and places, that are essentially non-permanent fixtures, but can amalgamate to form a wider sense of permanence in life. The concept of change is significant here, in that, permanence can be a dynamic framework that change can operate within’.
In a similar way, the differing textures represent different chapters in life; people come and go, just as the notes display their own impermanence…but a wider narrative is present, and the music goes on, just as life goes on, right up until the final breath. Change is a constant, and as the one continuous flow of music mirrors a lifespan with multiple melodies and strands converging through one body, the music comes full circle; as a child, he would sit at his father’s piano, using it to take his first steps into self-expression and connecting textures and sounds to form a new language; the baby-speak necessary to develop his new language of music. Andrews was building something else at the same time: a bridge, one which would otherwise be uncrossable – an impossibility – the music providing a connection even beyond death, as Andrews used the music, and the physical object of the piano, to connect with his late father.
With this record, the narrative continues, as music has been and continues to be a vital, inseparable part of his life. In a sense, music is a permanent force within the impermanence of physical existence, joining the constant heartbeat until that, too, goes silent. The legendary musician Victor Wooten once said that ‘all music ever played is still playing’, so perhaps music can escape the confines of the physical world, in that notes are still in the air as vibrations, as invisible as the breeze. In the end, it feels like the only permanent fixture is impermanence.