All Lanes Of Lilac Evening — Siavash Amini & Saåad (Opal Tapes, 2020)
An immersive, haunting experience, which is both euphoric and melancholic. This is an album of many colours: oranges, purples, dark blues, which continuously bleed and blur into each other.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus believed the world was made from a unity of opposites and harmony. That everything flowed and there was nothing but change.
“We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.”
This idea, that the water and life within a river are always changing, even if the river looks the same, can be reflected in how we live out our lives.
Humankind has always lived in a world of flux. We are flux. We grow and we die all of the time. Change and death are omnipresent in the natural world. They are also omnipresent in our thoughts, feeling and memories, too.
Growing, dying and growing again, we move from one experience to another, one connection to another, from one disintegration to another.
The final track from All Lanes Of Lilac Evening by Siavash Amini & Saåad takes its title from one of Heraclitus’ ideas, “Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers”, and the album as a whole is a testament to the two musicians ability to craft a resplendently fluid and organic river of sound.
From the first listen to All Lanes Of Lilac Evening, to the fifth, to the future infinitive play, I cannot but agree with Heraclitus’ thoughts on flow. When I stepped back into this record a second time, and then a third and fourth, it always felt like I stepped into different water, a different river. Although one touched by my experience of the last.
I can only take a hopeful guess the album’s title is in part-inspired or a perhaps a homage to Max Ernst’s surrealist etching ‘All Lanes Of Lilac Evening’ (1975) from his ‘Birds in Danger’ series. In this series, Ernst, a German pioneer of the dadaist movement, favoured primitive mark-making to depict a bird of some unknown origin, with recognisable avian head and feet, but a spiralling mid-section which looks in constant motion.
This idea of an ever-present flow of life is evident from the first track. ‘How Far Can You Go When You Close Your Eyes’ bleeds field recordings of possibly the sea and birds with city beeps and rumbles, before soft drones lull and pull us into the next track. This short opener lives up to its name: beckoning us to close our own eyes and step inwards to experience an evolving world within evolving sound.
‘A Vision Without Contours’ beautifully rises and falls, as strings and synthesisers soar and scrape across the landscape, simultaneously in tandem and opposition to each other — never settling in one place.
These shifting waves push/pull until they begin to dissipate and fall away into stolen voices, birdsong and the pulsating organ of ‘Dragging The Harrow’. One of my favourites, this track reaches for the skies and peaks into a heaven’s gate of choral blossoms and dense, throttling drones. At once, a melancholic beauty and a captivating dirge.
This is an album of many colours: oranges, purples, dark blues, which continuously bleed and blur into each other.
Highlights keep on coming. ‘Disruptive Emptiness’ is majestic. It soars and reaches out to beyond the cosmos. This track will definitely appeal to any admirers of Tim Hecker.
After this beautiful storm, ‘Calm In Resignation’ gently bounces in with falling dots and loops which dance and play off one another. Stars slowly pulse, rise and die into a remembering sky. Perhaps remnants, or echoes, of memories swirling, hoping to be later recalled.
The interplay of the wondrous water rolling and rocking on ‘Time Is A Child Playing In The Sand’ with the eerie instrumentation, does indeed recall an early innocence, but now one filled with a knowing adult contemplation.
While the final track, ‘Ever-Newer Waters Flow On Those Who Step Into The Same Rivers’ weaves in glorious drones which are allowed to breathe and grow inside an evolving space, incorporating more flowing water and a cyclical wonder.
One of the best complements I can pay this album is that is does not sound like the work of two artists. It is a complete symbiosis of their combined talents.
To borrow from Heraclitus one final time, this is an album that proves that everything does indeed flow. There are no boundaries, no edges. It’s a city with shifting outer walls, surrounded by a snaking river. Where played sound and found sound become a singularity of sound for a lilac’s evening.
All Lanes Of Lilac Evening is already shaping up to be one of my albums of 2020. Like the very best in ambient and drone, this release grows and takes on a stronger hold with every listen. It is an immersive, haunting experience, which is both euphoric and melancholic — a spiritual quality that melts me and makes me want to play it all over again.
All Lanes Of Lilac Evening by Siavash Amini & Saåad is available now on Opal Tapes.