The sound of hushed footfalls on concrete, coming from somewhere off in the distance. A specular city street, still wet from the days’ rain and reflecting back the luminescence of the orange-shining lamp light overhead and the moon in the starless sky above. The view from outside an apartment window, looking over rooftops and down alleys, with the street itself just outside of the frame and only the man-made expanse out in front of you, shrouded in the deep, deep dark of the early morning. Scenes devoid of corporeal forms yet vestiges of human life still hang in the air. Either out of sight or obscured by some physical impediment, the ghosts of the presence of others, or a specific other, linger on.
That’s the kind of vibe I’m getting from Things I’ve Seen. The cut come from a group by the name of Island Fox, a duo comprised of singer/songwriter Jessica “Jessa” Bartlett and producer Benjamin Abbott and oh! How I wish music like this was easier to come by in the states! For whatever reason, it’s the British that have the market cornered on these evocative and sensuous downtempo chillers.
The track opens up with a thunk-thud bass drum that might as well be my own beating heart slowed down a few BPMs. Then a backwards-looped guitar lick leads in Jessa’s pitched-down and heavily treated vocals. Her voice shimmers all over the mix, completely engulfing my auditory space and my mind.
You’ve been getting too close to my dreams
And I’ve been sweating more and more.”
Then the chorus hits and the sub-bass kicks in and the drums start kicking and I’m taken back to the romance of those dank urban vistas. The song rides out the head-nodding buzz for just long enough before switching gears. Light chiming tones and delicate, jazzy chords let Jessa infuse a bit more soul and humanity into the track. But then we hear the same refrains, restated from earlier in the track. Then the sub-bass comes back in and shifts the experience from a visceral one to a bodily one. Eventually feelings give way to movement, but isn’t that how it always is? The emotional dimension begets the physical forms and motions, the fuel for combustion.
Maybe I’ve just been spending too much time in the city. A breath of fresh air that isn’t leaden with the smells, sights, sounds, and subtext of urban living might do me some good. Or maybe the prescription is to turn Things I’ve Seen again? Immersion therapy, then.
I like the sound of that.