So says the opening sample on “Before Your Senses,” the second track of Birmingham-based Loveislight’s debut album Gim; and if there is a mission statement ingrained throughout the duration of this engimatically named and constructed album of electronic music, then it is the duality of destruction and creation (or re-creation), as every one of these twelve fleeting songs seem an avante-garde Sufi whirling of these two themes.
Who can look look at the wonderful cover art with its candy-striped nomads crossing a dune by the sea, beneath a sky bloodied and bruised with clouds, and not think of the music in the terminology of Middle Eastern theology and typography? From the opening track, “Intro Into the Ground,” with its waning strings that bleed into the syncopation of sparse drumbeats and the garbled speech of a deep-throated voice, the mood is set for the mercutial desert tempest of dissonate genre-delvings that follows. Clocking in at only at 26 minutes, Gim features song after song of music that dissasembles and reassembles music, creating a mezmerizing procession that spans across time and space, mapped by the click of a metronome.
Look no further than the second track, the aforementioned “Before Your Senses”–with it echo of a guitar line and its brittle vinyl scrape recording and its tinny beats and twinkling keyboard riffs–to see what I mean. But then you must trek onwards.
Though “It Pays to Dwell” starts off as a slowdown of a song, replete with the distant recording of a stern voice talking sternly about children and stern values, it soon picks up with timed spurts of white noise that lead into one of the album’s more addictively groovy beats.
Likewise “Broadcast” starts off simply as a flurry of strings paired with a humurous recording of a back-and-forth between two radio personalities bickering about whether or not they can say the word “Hell” on air, and then goes to symphonic downtempo heights before abruptly shifting into the realm of dream pop.
“Contact Pt. 1” is a waystation of a song, as it is the first truely hopeful and optomistic track on the album. Organ keyboard sections and funky beats carry us into a World Music sample of a girl’s chorus, marking this as the first use of the human voice on the album for reasons other than pessimistic mood-setting or ironic darkness. For such a simple song that clocks in at only a second under two minutes, it’s one of the real stand-out achievements of the album as a whole.
But if the previous song was about coming together, then “Ramery” is more about dissonance with its in-an-out haunting keyboards and alien transmission warbles. “Ramery” is a brooding on the failure to rebuild.
Which is why there is something acerbic and pastiche about “Scratch Einstein.” Nostalgic 1940’s swing is synched throughout an onslaught of sounds not unlike the smacking of insectile mandibles, before passing through an industrial percussion sections, and coming out it all with a distorted life of its own, where it takes center stage of the song’s latter half.
“Free Man Standing” begins as a pretty phantom of a piano-based number before hitting its stride as an existential back-and-forth on the power of objects. First we have a desolate harmony of Valkerie-esque vocals that escalate into a looney toon-voiced sample explaining that Uncle Sam needs our money to mass-produce planes and tanks, before taking a spiritual turn as an old woman talks about the house her father built–not in terms of brick or mortar, but in terms of faith, love, and music. “Free Man Standing” is the most ambitious track on the album, juggling its myriad of themes and stylistic cadences, and then taking that final and important step of making it all work wonderfully.
“Three Ninety Three” is a brief, bluesy bridge into the Beethovian splendor of “Paying Dweller,” with its contrast of crystalline tones and feedback-dirty percussion. These two tracks make for an unexpected path to the penultimulate track of the album, “A Lasting Fashion”: an uplifting flourish of sixties soul set to a sample of an academic speculation of the nature of distances on a universal scale.
But we take a darker turn in the final, titular track, “GIm.” Sizzling ambience and bare-bones marching band percussion leads into a denouement of ominous digital beeps and a robotic rasp proselytizing the biblical end of existence. The song leaves you wondering, is this the voice of Gim? That may very well be, because its not a stretch of the alphabet or of rhyme (let alone the imagination) to think of djinns, those angelic entities of the Qur’an, creatures existing in worlds and dimensions unknowable to those of us who have to traverse this mortal coil. But maybe unlike their descriptions in that holy book, this djinn is not made of “scorching fire”; Gim is made of scorching sounds.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Anthony Vacca is a writer living in Birmingham who were are honored as hell to have on board. He also writes for WELD and can be contacted at Anthony.firstname.lastname@example.org.