We previously talked to you about the about this lovely band (cheap plug) and lo and behold, Elika are back with a new LP called Always the light, a brisk 33 minutes of ambient electronica that creates lush soundscapes, like a vivid lucid dream that disorients your senses. Feelings of fear and warmth clash under synthetic sounds in a combination of full blown tracks and a variety of segues that serve as stepping stones between the emotions on display.
‘Stay beside me’ is an encompassing, sweet tune. Almost 5 minutes, with that easy going pace that takes its time, lights candles and incense and lets everything flow. It’s a delightful poppy track that is followed by ‘We had it all’, which although still sounding happy, there’s an undercurrent of melancholy in it.
This melancholy is present in other tracks. So much is said (emotionally) in the short ‘All my wishes’, a bubbly segue that somehow turns into a Celtic lamentation. Kudos on Evagelia Maravelias, her voice is perfect in this one. The dreamy instrumentation by Brian Wenckebach is lush here, but that’s something that happens a lot in this multilayered release (see: ‘Never touch the sky’ with its cinematic feel or ‘Waiting room’ with its IDM signature sound).
Never understood the derision towards electronic music, specifically, the complaint about saying that it’s “music done by computers”. Well, it’s an instrument, really, and if you’re good, you’re good. The other complaint is about the music not having soul, and although there’s a good share of electronic music that sounds like muzak (like in any genre), when there’s a soul, it seeps out through the notes. ‘No one gets lost’ is the evidence I offer for Elika‘s soul. A haunting voice, a riveting mix of sounds (a bit like the music of R-Type, one of my fave games), and that sweet sound that still has a riptide of anger and aggression. It’s subdued, but still is there, ready to almost explode, but never giving fully into the anger.
‘You and me’, conversely, is quite a lovely number, a good track to chill out, even if the lyrics can bring some feelings of regret. I agree that we all are the protagonists of our own stories and, in hindsight, some of our fellow protagonists can turn into antagonists. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a chill out comfort zone after ‘No one gets lost’. That’s life, I guess. Worry not, ‘Trials’ (sweet!) and ‘A year alone’ will wash away any bad vibrations still in your ears (and brain).
There’s current booming interest in electronic music. The film Drive probably gave the genre a piggyback ride so the general public can notice that although created inorganically, electronic music can be quite organic and have a soul. Elika are into something and Always the light is great display of what they do.
Words: Sam J. Valdes Lopez