A dancing beggar – Follow the dark as if it were light
You can tell a lot of things from the artwork of A dancing beggar‘s new album, Follow the dark as if it were light. Even if it looks like a peaceful meadow, the absence of wildlife (or any other colours besides green) gives it a slight sense of isolation.
Isolation eventually leads into melancholy and through 7 tracks, we get many a different shade of melancholy. Ambient sequences with synths and playful piano notes full of longing with the odd guitar thrown in for extra feeling are A dancing beggar’s modus operandi.
Some tracks even include sparse vocals, but they are processed and a little buried in the back, so they sound more like the faraway lamentations of a thousand ghosts passing in the distance (‘Empty boats’). Instead of rattling chains, it’s the sound of a rapidly picked guitar string that envelops those spectres, with a lonely morse code S.O.S. adding to the haunting sounds.
But let’s not be a Gloomy Gus, as there are a few rays of happiness in all these flushes of wistfulness and longing. ‘There is hope here’ feels very, very optimistic, like a long warm hug that makes you feel just right after a horrible day has pulled its tricks on you.
Reverse echoes, reverberated guitars and a lot of banshee-like electronic sounds swarm us in a track as innocent as ‘Returning’, a long journey that is like catching an old photograph of friends in days long gone and letting the memories run like wild horses (over the hills). It’s simply amazing how the song builds layer upon layer, warm as a duvet in a bitterly cold night, refreshing as a watering hole jump in a deadly hot summer night. It’s full of longing, but optimistic. Optimistic would be the world to a lot of the tracks, yes.
The overall sound of the album is thick in layers upon layers, but never getting as thick as a wall of sound approach that would be more on shoegaze territory. It’s a very noisy type of ambient music (kudos to ‘Stars bring us closer’ -amazing track), with enough post-rock tricks to give it a personality. Check if you want something optimistic but slightly sad and introspective.