Two suggested prefixes there, wholly different, wholly juxtaposed – demons, and nectar. Demons haunt our psyche; nectar gives mother nature’s flowers their life. Is there any correlation to the sounds on this album by Demen on Kranky? Certainly. The music is typically life-affirming for the label, and is a resolute cleanser to Springtime heartache. Maybe you’re going through a bereavement; maybe you just lose your marbles every now and then. Whichever intensity you have, this is mindful music with a sweetheart’s touch to its pedigree. It takes my mind away to places I know I would actually like to be – the opposite of fomo – the fear of missing out acronym, is just nothingness, and revelling in it. Gone are the cheesy discos of yesteryear, in comes a patchouli quality to the new age of sentimental solipsism.
Drones and instruments often play to this core in ambient and drone Muzak. Opening this record is “Niorum” with a voice that sounds part Marie Brennan (of 70s folk-popsters Clannad) and part abstract recent singer Sia. The beats throughout continue as a relentlessly echoey force that paints huge delay trails over the landscape, a sandworm burrowing in and out of a sci-fi video game. There’s not much to decipher lyrically; to be honest I don’t want to – these sound like ancient sentiments, ancient chants. And this gives a wonderful sense of serenity coming to fruition.
Most of the musical modes and tropes are fixed in minor keys, making heavy use of aeolian and cloudy dorian sensibilities. A particularly cathartic quality is reaped from the Slowdive-esque drumming furore that enters on second track “Morgon”, replete with pulsular vocals that sound like they’re lifted from a heavenly larynx. Another comparison here is the “Dreams” track, well known to everyone, by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac; the same type of thing applies here: “thunder only happens when it’s raining”. Here it’s raining percussion and angelic electric guitar, drenched in reverberation.
Wholly unpredictable only two tracks deep, and deep this mother is, I’m thoroughly immersed in it. “Korridorer” speaks to the erratic pathways of the guitarist’s mind with hissing static, a Twin Peaks style coffee table meander into unknown territories. Unknown territories is the cadence risk to size. The two tracks prior to the divinely woven closing cut “Ambur” are noodlings; good noodlings, mind, but still inconsequential. They expose the weaknesses of the album where lack of intensity arises. This is not a wrong path – it’s when things become intensely unintelligible verbally, very much alien riches- that the best work shows itself. I’m intensely glad, as well, that I gave this record more than just a passing judgement. The world is made of nectar; it is only the bitter aftertaste of the human psyche that wears our own judgements thin. Here’s to many more from Demen on Kranky.