22 November 2018

A melancholy by any other name

This month a year ago, a musical gate I didn't know existed was smashed open by someone named Erol Alkan. Through his rework of Connan Mockasin's Forever Dolphin Love, I learned what a rework is; while his DJ gigs at BBC 6 made me realize what a DJ should be.

November 9th, he gave fans a pre-Christmas gift: a self-consciously synaesthetic EP containing two songs, one called Spectrum and the other, Silver Echoes. The latter I am mad in love with that I played its preview for what seemed like hours on deejay.de weeks before the release date.

Now, listening to the full track, I recall conductor Benjamin Zander's advice to think of measures as beats — as a way to make a musical piece sing and to trick the ear into hearing a different speed. With Silver Echoes, the tempo is brisk but the mood is relaxed.

Reviewers even spoke of a certain melancholia running through its veins. Something I couldn't hear, try as I might. For me, from the beginning, the song evoked pure joy, in fact a freedom that can either come from wise resignation or child-like innocence.

Or maybe we are calling the same feeling by other names.

We lose ourselves in good music. Yet what I admire most about this track, and Erol's body of work for that matter, is the sense of place. Each moment knows exactly where it wants to go. The beats don't drop but rather push the next ones up, up, up—

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