Analogue Dear’s compositions want to befriend you. They’re sweet and good-natured in spirit, and the notes spread warmth and compassion. Black and white keys are lit up one at a time, like an octave of fireflies; the piano is in a pretty place as it takes the listener by the hand. Stories We Tell Ourselves is a slow, beautiful walk that never breaks a sweat. We travel through its sun-gleaming forests and up onto its high peaks, with feminine vocals immediately breaking through the opening song like daybreak’s sunshine.
Coming out on bitbird on June 15, Rotterdam-based musician Sjaak Douma melds classical music and electronic music with an approach as soft as a melting snowflake. It’s nothing new to blend the two together, of course, but Analogue Dear bleeds the two styles together with music that’s both feathery without being lightweight and seductive without being vulgar. The music is a sanctuary for the soul, the harmonies sitting on a pillow of warm dreams. Douma’s piano compositions come from a special place in the heart. As his instrument of choice, it’s the perfect vehicle for composing sparse arrangements. Douma takes full advantage of this fact, adding rests within and therefore delivering vital supplies of oxygen.
Airy vocals float naturally in between the piano, always and forever there. It could go on forever, this easy rainfall. The piano remains unrushed and unhurried – it’s as calm as a coastal breeze, the gentle ripples of a cobalt pool – and serenity falls onto the listener as the splashes of reverb echo outwards, forming wider, ghostly puddles in the sound. As notes emerge, soft electronics help to inflate rather than infiltrate the sound; two’s company, and they’re good friends. Instead of competing, they complement one another, with sparkling progressions and deeper bass notes adding more purpose and direction to the overall composition.
Tails echo off into the distance, leaving a peace-making mood behind. Notes are alive, and by sending these daughters out into the world, Analogue Dear promotes love and kindness at a deep level. On the titular piece the piano’s tempo is quicker, but it still doesn’t feel like it’s running (or even jogging), and the airy sighs that float into the track aren’t out of breath, either. This four-track EP will send you to a place of deserving rest. Perfumed sighs rest well against the solid structure of the piano, her notes fluttering like butterflies in a greenhouse. The vocals would fly away without their support. ‘She Rose And Fell With The Waves’ pulses with a recurring phrase, feeling like a trickle on the surface of deeper waters with a reassuring, medicinal sound like that of amplified gospel.