Quiet Evenings, the husband and wife duo of Grant and Rachel Evans, have returned after a year out with Espions: two deep, icy zones occupied by nothing more than a dripping sliver of synth and a heavily-textured, minimal drone. Espions resembles a bleary, frosty morning or a silent, frozen evening in that the synth-work is in need of a puffer jacket and a warm, woolly hat; its cold music hangs in the damp air, slowly bleeding. The synths are strong but the circulation is slow, dropping close to a flat-line as it weeps a series of pale, lunar harmonies and obscure, stealthy rhythms. Synths usually radiate warmth, but these are stuck in sub-zero temperatures.
Gradually, the synth moves on, but it goes slowly, as if walking right into a headwind. The bare, cold tone dampens the world around it, turning it a shade of icy blue; the colour of a bruise blooming in the first and final hours of the day, a pale glow unlike the brighter, surrounding flare of daylight. The drone bobs up and down along the general contour of its sound wave, never in a rush to get somewhere else. It just hangs.
The second track develops more of a steady melody, but it staggers along, repeating its sparse, uniformed notes in the quiet emptiness of its tundra before eventually disappearing into the white of the blizzard. The notes are heavier, each one like a drop of cold rain as it lands on the skin of the track. Channels begin to open up as soon as the melody stops, allowing winds of static into the music. They breeze through the track and almost sweep away its fainter background noise.
In this place, the minuscule becomes audible, every little detail arranged within the music, supporting it and enabling it to stand tall. It ends with the sound of dripping water, which we hope is a thawing and not another spell of rain. The drone is further tweaked along the way, and this adds an experimental layer to the record – another layer of clothing to keep things insulated and interesting – but the general mood is something akin to deep isolation, solitude through ambient.