The fragility of life – of all life – is both a blessing and a curse. It can be stolen – unfairly, shockingly – in an instant, and it can flower in a split-second. One breath is all that separates the living from those who have passed. The same is true of music – one note is all that separates the living from those who have gone before; the silent and the resting.
In Ned Milligan’s Afternoon Hours, the first release in the new ‘notebook series’, which will include beautiful silk-screen printed books, 2 x CDs, 13 vintage prints, entomology study papers (circa.1880), the notes appear as glass-like and extremely delicate things, capable of falling apart at the slightest touch. Like the threadbare wings of an insect, the notes appear thinly, gliding through an easily-sliceable atmosphere.
The music thrums like the rapid beating of wings, a still and serene hovering that masks a great deal of energy and focus. A hundred fireflies gather in the dusty, dusk-lit ambient evening; the patterns are natural, developing slowly and easily, doing what they were born to do, and Afternoon Hours effortlessly floats and flutters as a result, caught between the two transient moments of life and death. Rain falls, giving off a light-as-paper sound.
Living organisms are not meant to know their fate, and it’s a shock when a track suddenly comes to a stop. Life is like that. We aren’t guaranteed the chance to say goodbye. A Winged Victory For The Sullen were on the right track when they said that all farewells are sudden. It arrives as a cruel thief and it arrives as a captain who must be obeyed, leading the soul across those uncharted waters. The soul of Afternoon Hours isn’t morbid or transfixed on endings, though. Instead, it’s a warm reminder of life’s fragility, in all of its magnificent forms.
Death is another chapter in life, and while the dream ends far too soon, bringing us much sadness and grief, it’s a miracle we were even here. The hours are slipping by; it’s afternoon already. Meet me in the white light.
Release date: 31.03.18