The parched opening of Lua feels like it’s just walked off the set of a Spaghetti Western. Up ahead, frail images shimmer in what can only be a soft mirage. Lua’s smoky clouds drift slowly in the cloying air before evaporating over a bone-dry and vacant lot. Summer is here, and the strong beams of sunshine light up the music. One by one, the bright melodies are strung together, glinting like freshly excavated pearls.
In some ways Lua is a ghost town, a throwback to happier times where a number of golden scenes are played out one by one against a series of specific memories and vintage backdrops. There’s a slight disconnect, too; you get the sense that someone wanders around these old, decaying bars and dusty back alleys, as if lost or dazed by recent events. Recorded using various, ageing tape machines, Lua’s wavering, hazy tones hold valleys of tears which stream across the music and reflect with honesty a testing period in Will Samson’s life as he relocated from the UK to Portugal earlier in the year. The music has also been through the process of relocation. Touched by sunlight, the ambient music is lucid and soft, equally melancholic and radiantly optimistic. It’s tonally pure, and that makes it all the more emotional.
Geographically, Lua is a hazy road that speaks of a long journey. The day is a sweltering one and the consistently high temperatures of summer inflate the record, which is occupied by a twinkling piano and a couple of precious gemstones that in another life would have called themselves harmonies.
Sun-bleached melodies and bright, vapour-thin harmonies circle the ambient music.
Chimes echo around ‘Electric Parade’ (featuring Message To Bears and Beatrijs De Klerck), and their gentle clinks unobtrusively fill the space. Beside the violin, a sleepy lullaby-of-a-melody plays. ‘You Are An Ocean’ (featuring Benoît Pioulard) dreamily drifts across the blue sky, adding in some cooler, refreshing textures that sprinkle droplets of water over the harmony. The rain is falling, bringing with it a renewed sense of purpose, a stronger flavour and vibrancy, and the reinvigoration of a thirsty spirit.
Like everything else, these five tracks have been shaped by recent experiences. The violin’s stratospheric tone pierces the cloudier atmosphere, moving to the foreground in a natural way. And that’s what Lua is all about – music coming from the heart, flowing as naturally as a stream without ever falling prey to excessive thinking. When this is the case, music comes out sounding sweeter than ever. When I studied music at university (although you don’t really ever graduate from music – you’re always her student), one of my teachers used to say, “the more you think, the more you stink”. That applies to Lua. In fact, it represents her entire being and her carefree, contemplative spirit, because everything is wonderfully free, growing as naturally as a wildflower. Deep inside the music, there’s a sense of change. Sands are shifting.
A pink sky is slowly fading to an orange sunset as the dusk gives way to a new day.