Long Story Short
Dosed up on pretty high levels of reverb, Long Story Short is glistening, translucent music. Rain lightly falls as the bass note of an electric guitar sets the first stone in place. After that, soft sprinklings of notes are swept away on the perfumed, lilting air of major seventh chords. Appropriately titled ‘Lazing’, the music drifts by, seamlessly adding a little at a time. Like a cloud in the sky, it takes its time to fully form.
Released on Too Many Fireworks, the ambient guitar music of Mateusz Franczak is sweet and soothing, at times lively and slightly frantic (which is unusual for the style of ambient guitar) without ever sounding cluttered, and at other times radiating a depthless serenity that ripples along with the reverb. The Polish experimental musician layers his ambient music with kindness, but there’s also a distorted, uneasy and thoroughly grey undercurrent in the depths of the ambient sound. That’s a mean feat in itself, because ambient music so often relies on its sparse vacuums that occupy the no-man’s-land between space and silence. The distorted intruder doesn’t dampen the slow, slightly melancholic feel, either.
The notes ring and bleed together; the double stops clang with a muted tone that drags everything into a murky field of vision. A calming, casual tone captains the largely sedate music, its notes dimmed like the fine evening light of late spring. The shadows lurk just around the corner and are a couple of hours away from arriving, but as long as the music’s playing they never dare to creep out of their dark shells. A grittier sound sticks tightly to ‘Moving’. The prickly distortion is there, but it’s not strong enough to dampen the sound as a whole. The faces in the crowd appear to be crisper and sharper. Long Story Short takes a stride towards ambient song, too, the vocals gliding into a mini chorus that glows with the fiery heat of napalm. It gets its energy from both the soaring vocal and the spikier tone.
Long Story Short lingers between structured song and improvised, sustaining soundscape, blearily straddling the ethereal and the everyday. Emerging out of this is a voice dripping with reverb, recalling the late Spacemen 3 and early Spritualized sound by way of a muddied, soulful drawl. The softer pools of a glorious, romanticized reverb evaporate in the light of a distorted tone that waddles out of the music’s swampy waters like a primeval crocodile. Paradise slips away and is replaced by the heady turbulence of uncertainty and doubt. The faith isn’t as strong as it was; the music’s glow is waning and swaying. Long Story Short is easily digestible, its colourful music as lulling as it is pressing. To a degree, Franczak’s history (he played in a number of rock and punk bands at an earlier age) influences the music’s lifeline, especially when it comes to the use of overdrive. It was, perhaps, inevitable, but it puts a different spin on the music. You get the feeling that Franczak really enjoyed the process. Long Story Short’s largely improvised, intoxicated melodies form a pleasant hybrid, where abrasive textures and passionate vocals blend in with ambient’s gentle curves.