Album Reviews: Arriving at Night by Victor BermonThe debut album, Arriving at Night, from Australian Victor Bermon might find its closest counterpart in the melodic folktronica of Four Tet, circa Rounds. It, too, is composed of warm organic sounds—but where Four Tet's instrumentals are lush, Bermon's are hushed.
The lead track, "Farewell Lunch for Laura," has been floating around the blogosphere for the last month or so to quiet acclaim. And rightly so: a soft little jazz horn loop, multiple layers of piano, acoustic guitar, stuttering beats, and (the best part) rhythmic typewriter clacks all coalesce into a soundscape that's emotive while remaining cozily intimate.
Throughout, Bermon arranges and rearranges layers of subtly swelling synths, lightly strummed guitar rhythms, burbling electronic samples, and tinkling bells, attaining a quiet romance with his instrumentals. "Famous Discussion" edges into IDM territory, building a beautiful hive of sound around a soft, jazzy drumbeat and an array of plucked strings, while "Unprepared" catches you just as it should—emerging from a slow fog-horn-like wash of synths about 2/3 of the way in, the song suddenly gains life, all atwitter with glockenspiel, tapped percussion, sparse guitar, and a sense of new hope.
But it's only on "Theatre of Signs" that Bermon once again approaches the richness of "Farewell Lunch," the album's easy standout and a track that is never fully matched. As he gradually layers acoustic guitar, warm, thrumming electronic loops, and drums, the song suggests the wealth of musical possibilities available without saying (or vocalizing) anything at all. Bermon could do with a little more variation on his compositions, but this is a promising debut in a genre of music that's not easily mastered.
- Jocelyn K. Glei
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