Yann Novak - Lifeblood of Light and Rapture [Room40 - 2021]
With synthesized tones acting as long, expressive brush strokes, artist Yann Novak crafts a vivid image of sound in motion with Lifeblood of Light and Rapture. Often times like skyscrapers peaking through the fog, his latest plays like a slowly unfolding storm just distant enough to give the listener an illusion of safety, but close enough that one feels that being swept off one's feet is inevitable. A great mix of dense and open, Lifeblood pays off the patient listener.
Somewhere in between ambient and film score, Yann Novak's Lifeblood of Light and Rapture brings the listener on a sonic journey - slowly and assuredly. Composed of four long-form tracks, this album makes the most of its time and space, with interlocking and interplaying layers rising and falling like timelapsed clouds in a cityscape. Using nebulous tones, Novak is able to roll out base layers that can move at different speeds - some glacial, some quick - causing the auditory illusion of added motion and movement. Oscillations work in tandem to create rolling peaks and valleys which accentuate the higher, brighter layers, which work as a lead instrument. On the whole, each piece works with the other three to build a complete movement, all the while keeping its own identity. Similarities exist, yes, but the highlights are formed with different structures, colors, and hues, giving the overall product a vibrant dimension. Often, being in nature can feel like a religious experience, and there is a connection between that and certain soundscapes as well. The meditative, reflective nature allows the listener to go to places traditional music won't allow, and the end result is far greater than just a listening experience. The fourth song, "Silence Will Hang in the Air (When We Are Gone)," plays off of this (albeit coincidentally) and the organ-like notes bring about the feeling of sitting in a cathedral during a high mass. Cinematic at times, Lifeblood constructs a lot without using too much, and evokes myriad feelings with its sweeping highs and slowly ambulating lows.
With its genesis in the mix of machines and the climate crisis, it's no wonder Lifeblood feels like a combination of man-made structures juxtaposing rolling clouds and air. What was designed to help has in turn started to hurt. Novak's latest is an intriguing listen that unfolds further and further with each listen. To buy the release direct head to herePaul Casey