Lifelines is an aptly-named series from Slowcraft Records. In this year of all years, music, love, and friendship is vital. They are lifelines to millions. When the world is drowning in grief and suffering, these things are rafts to hold onto. Sometimes, the only thing to do is to hold on for dear life, knowing that, for however long it may take, better days are ahead.
The pairing of Dominik Grenzler and Stijn Hüwels on Where We Meet has ushered in a record that is sorely needed: one of ‘friendship, hope, and steadfast, creative spirit’. The digital-only series, curated by Slowcraft founder James Murray, presents consoling works from high-calibre artists; musicians who don’t fit a typical mould, but choose to break down and split from genre conventions and expectations to produce something adventurous and innovative. Mastering duties have gone to the ever-excellent Ian Hawgood, while beautiful artwork from printmaker June Murray is also featured.
Recorded between Zurich and Leuven during 2020’s Spring lockdown, Where We Meet is the first collaboration between Grenzler and Hüwels. It’s an essential record, not only down to its timing and window of release, but in its mood, attitude, and approach, as the music offers an outlet and a getaway from the ills of 2020 and its deluge of trouble and stress. A wet reverb and an elongated drone open up the album, stretching and joining up with a piano’s soft, twinkling notes and introducing an array of quiet, micro-tonal sounds in the background. Those sounds are unobtrusive, entering at random intervals and gracing the background with their presence. The reverb is more like a light spray than an anchor, but it’s a constant, comforting presence, and one that can influence and colour every aspect of the music, making it shimmer and ripple.
Where We Meet is music that could melt at any temperature. The music is given space to develop, maximising the fruits of this collaboration and turning potential into realization. The drones are subtle in their movements, and a piano occasionally enters with some light, dispersed playing. Electronic sounds scuttle and swim, leaving a deep reverb in their wake. Many are in need of a lifeline today. Where We Meet will pull you to safety.