The Power Of Absence
There’s absolute silence at the beginning of the first track ‘The Veil’ on Berlin based Ben Lukas Boysen’s beautiful new album ‘Spells’. It lasts for 8 seconds but feels like an eternity. Not in a negative way, but in the slow glacial movement of tectonic plates as nature flexes and breathes. You might not see it movement with the naked eye, but you can feel it. It’s immense power has traversed the oceans of space for longer than any human can comprehend. The veil slowly falls away at a tender pace as more and more sounds are added, soft layers in both a rhythmic and seemingly spontaneous wave of organic sounds that are evocative of cascading sand, slowly building the foundation to a sumptuous and gorgeous work.
With the aural substratum completed, enabling the sound construction to commence ‘Nocturne 3’ almost explodes into being with a the clarity of a plaintive solitary piano, keys played so sparsely it’s as if the music is learning to walk, tentative notes that gradually build in confidence, curiosity and depth into a sweeping joy of sounds, it’s a Fantasia of wonderment.
There are real instruments at the heart of the pieces, but despite their seemingly sparseness, they carry huge weight with a production that is sumptuous, warm, rich, natural, and at times voluminous and enrapturing.
Continually floating onwards, caressed by ‘Sleepers Beat Theme’, throughout the album that seems to question our very perceptions of time and space, we slowly drift into the orbit of ‘Golden Times 1’, a truly mesmerising, hypnotic work of serenely gentle piano, woven with a sub bass beat and heart breakingly beautiful chello. It begins like the sound of a glorious day waking up, drops of cascading dew, a sleepy eyed Sun drifting over the yawning dawn horizon, then bursting in all its glorious pulsing radiance giving life and light to the world. Only later to pass on as bequeaths nature, night following day, but what a day.
The isolation and echoed piano of ‘Nocturne 4’ mixed with the sound of a choir is devastating in it’s emotive power. In the most beautiful and eloquent way it’s like the eulogy for Existence. All that was remembered with such poignancy, then bursting phoenix like in a rebirth, renewal, rejoice, abundance, breathing, gulping, inhaling the very life force of nature itself. What was once was potentially the notes of melancholy now have a gravatus and splendour, an awe for being, for living.
‘Keep Watch’ stretches it’s notes and sounds, languid, reflective, supremely relaxing and meditative. Giving you the infinite time to absorb it’s meandering depth. There is a divine peace and tranquillity to all these tracks. It’s a wellspring of calm in a cacophonous crashing world.
Hypnotically drifting and looping into our aural travels ‘Golden Times 2’ is so absorbing it’s actually difficult to write about, you’re not really supposed to be doing anything whilst listening to this album, well except float away into the universe born and lovingly nurtured between it’s grooves.
Ben is a composer and sound designer by trade and it’s marinated into every detail such is the richness involved. It also takes a beautiful confidence to seemingly leave out so much, but for it to feel so full. On the same label (the incredible Erased Tapes Records) as such neo classical luminaries as Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and A Winged Victory For The Sullen amongst others, it’s a work of exquisite beauty that deservedly holds it’s head high amongst his contemporaries.
Ending on the melting haunting notes of ‘Selene’ Boysen has lovingly brought you on a wondrous journey through a universe of such splendour that you never knew existed, and we are all the richer for it.
‘Spells’ is out now. For more information head to benlukasboysen.com