Patience is said to be a virtue, but in a time of waiting, it can feel like anything but. The Sweet Wait is a collaboration between Spanish ambient / experimental composer Pepo Galán and Australian dreampop vocalist Karen Vogt. When united together, their music becomes elegant and emotional. As indicated by its title, The Sweet Wait explores themes of patience, the relinquishing of the ego, and ultimate surrender, which, in a world where control is everything, is sought after, is valued above all else, can be a difficult concept to grasp.
Taking in dark ambient, dreampop, shoegaze, neo-classical, and ambient elements, their debut record is a sweet blending, with affection and love leaking out from its sound, tracing river-lines through its haunting ambient geography, which contains a guitar echoing with want, an elderly piano, a younger set of swirling vocals, still yearning to receive and trailing behind in the ambient slipstream, and a creaking cello. It’s about absence and doubt, because during a season of waiting, things can feel like a dead end, like all hope has been lost. But it’s also an album of acceptance in surrender (which is not the same as resignation), and of deep humility to even consider surrendering.
Written and recorded between Paris and Malaga, the music is a beautiful blurring between Pepo’s elegant, sweeping, and deeply textured ambient soundscapes and Karen’s vocals, which glitter from in-between, unobtrusively carving out a space in the ambient sound, which at times is oceanic, and adding to it further with degrees of delicacy and humility. Karen co-founded the dreampop group Heligoland, and her vocals have always been a vital part of the group’s output; the same is true here.
A dream-like, lyrical ambient is made real, the words air-swimming
In a society that places instant gratification on a pedestal, waiting can be viewed as a difficult thing. As Queen once demanded, ‘I want it all, and I want it now’. But there is a sweetness and an innocence in waiting, a patient mind cultivating calmness and confidence, as well as a deep knowledge that things will eventually come to light, given time. It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom; it doesn’t have to be hard. While one cannot control outside influences and events, one can control the response.
The Sweet Wait features two stunning photographs from French photographer Aurélie Scouarnec, who captures darkness, shadows, and life between the veils. The sacred, the reverent, and the extremely precious nature of life and the delicacy of a single moment, where the hidden is as important as the revealed, unfolds within each photograph. So too are things concealed when waiting, and with patience. A strong will is required. Everything has its season; the fruit will ripen.