Lee Yi – An instant for a momentary desolation

lee yiIt is unlikely that ambient music producer Lee Yi set out to record the soundtrack of the winter that is about to set in. Given that the prodigious artist calls Málaga, Spain home, snow drifts and ice storms probably aren’t a big concern.

That being said, Yi does have the great outdoors on his mind. He describes the new release on his Bandcamp page this way: “An instant for a momentary desolation describes a place devastated by the natural reactions of these days. Nature can be as cruel as beautiful. Immense and tenacious! This album goes through a path of ambiguity, of how beauty can corrupt us by desecrating what we love.”

Released today, the 36-minute album has a kind of crystalline beauty. Three of the four tracks – “Momentary desolation,” “Desecration” and “Incertae” – are grainy, almost harsh. They’re meant to “explain the feeling of despair with a heartbreaking and corrosive sound,” he says.

A fair description, certainly. But there’s more there. This is an abandoned road on a frigid night. It’s the sound the wind makes when it picks something up and tosses it in your face.

It’s a cliché to describe music like this as haunting. But that’s exactly what it is. Pick your synonym: evocative, lingering, troubling. They all apply.

The three pieces come at you gently, but they’re powerful nonetheless. The noise elements he incorporates are understated, and especially effective.

The album’s final track is the almost 17-minute long “Vulnerable Petal.” Yi says it “shows us the fragility of life, emptiness after the chaos and the uncertainty of what will happen.”

Pretty heavy words at this moment in history. Despite the piece’s sullenness though, it is nothing short of exquisite.

Careful though. Winter is coming.

Kevin Press

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