Introducing ‘Not Seeing Reality’ – the wayward, often mysterious journey that defines the pathway of what we call life. For many, reality is totally dependent on individual perception. The notes begin their life in innocent infancy, but by their teens they have snaked their way into the more unruly, dissonant territory, interacting with one another until a harmonious chain reaction ensues; one that started off with a primary note – a single heartbeat, the survivor in the battle of selection – but one that quickly brings in a thousand more.
Reality is then able to shape-shift into a sporadic, sparse piano line, accompanied by a gorgeous wave of crimson synth. Only, a line doesn’t quite work; it is bloated enough to feel pregnant with the baby bump of melody, oozing out of the thicker line and then submerging the original, vulnerable piano with new life.
Foci’s Left is the alias of Fluid Radio’s own Mick Buckingham, a name that regular Fluid readers will know very well. Told as a chronological tale, Grumpy Love isn’t nearly as dishevelled or as depressed with the state of things past and present as its grumpy name would seem to suggest. It is, in fact, shrouded by heart-felt sensitivity and deep personality. It is very much the opposite of grumpy. After all, there are two words up there; the oh-so-thin space that divides the first word from the second, ‘love’, is close enough to be considered intimate.
Love never fails. Love conquers all.
Grumpy Love is a beautiful, personalized painting, left to hang at a slight angle on the uneven canvas of life, with both enjoyable and difficult moments that come to claim every man. When linked together, they reach a teenage crescendo. ‘Piano Paint’ introduces some beautiful synths that jut into the piano, coating it with an intoxicating harbour of nostalgia – the nostalgic element traces a radiated line of melody, as if the early memory on which it was based has physically escaped, deceiving what we all thought of as reality and instead containing itself within the music as a precautionary measure. It cocoons itself against the decline that age brings and the mood swing of swift change that can affect our recollections as one decade passes into another.
Saturated in the vintage, ambient warmth of pure tone, when the genre itself was in its infancy, the synths are a mesmerising serenade. It shares the same angelic timbre that made the early Brian Eno classic, Music For Airports, such a lovable listen. You can tell instantly that Grumpy Love is a deeply personal recording just from this synth alone. The later drums seem to propel the passages of life forward, with no pause for reminiscing. That comes later on, because Grumpy Love has some beautiful, open spaces ideal for reflection. Life may, at times, feel like ‘An Upwards Slope’, but listening to the music here is to know that the inner serenity of peaceful ease is always there. Always. Here, a thinner drone is disguised as Cupid himself, but the darker echoes of possible distress lie just beyond the doorway. It is the tense, anxious sound of the unknown; a place where dusty road-signs are always blank with unmarked destinations.
‘For Fluid’ is a loving piece of music that is as much a generous tribute as it is a personal reflection. Grumpy Love narrates the passage of life with painstaking thought. The older hand outlines the black tail of a nurtured note like the embrace between a newborn and a parent. In this picture, the thin brush gives life to the paint. It holds itself in the palmed trust of the future, while taking one last look back at the past – this is the final dedication.