Perhaps it’s a bit early to be thinking in terms of best-of-the-year lists for 2018. Of course, great albums are just as likely to land in January or February as they are in any other month. But common sense dictates that we contain our enthusiasm until at least the spring.
This new album from Kuala Lumpur’s flica (euseng seto) makes that exceedingly difficult. His electronics, paired with kent lee’s elegantly distorted bass tracks, will floor you. We’ve never heard such romantic, delightfully melancholic ambient music.
flica’s background in classical music has surely contributed to his ability to communicate such depth of feeling. The album isn’t at all a classical work, but it is every bit as finely crafted as anything that genre has produced in recent memory.
Sub:Side begins with “Listener,” a piano piece for the most part, with subtle effects and electronic percussion. It sets a hypnotizing tone for the album that, were it not for flica’s great talent as a songwriter, might risk sounding repetitive. In fact, it has the opposite effect. The result is a kind of variations on a theme, in this case on that comfortable feeling of subsiding energy. We give ourselves over to the music like we would exhaustion.
A pleasant side note. The album has been released by Schole Records in Tokyo. That label’s A&R duties are handled by Akira Kosemura, an extraordinary artist in his own right. He released two new short pieces on Friday.