Absent Friends is one of those music projects that comes along once in a while that reminds you that music is an art form, and what’s been produced here is a canvas of emotion and a perfect soundscape for reflection and thought and everything in-between.
As a bold piece of work this album is full instrumental, infusing classical instruments with wonderful sound samples and synthesizers with ease making sounds that really work so well together. It just proves that you can tell so much without the use of words. The feeling and the vibe of this album is so diverse with each track having its own unique and different personality. It’s best to treat each track as a single entity, they don’t seem to transition into each other as well as a purely instrumental album maybe should. It gives it a sound of short bursts of thought rather than a twisting and winding flow of consciousness.
The album starts with the positive sound of ‘Endless’, but as it drones on with its overhanging soft chords it turns into a track of hopelessness. Absent Friends seems to focus on these more tragic emotions in this albums with little bursts of optimism and contentment. ‘Real Escape’ is one that teases this optimism in a royal fashion but that just transcends into something more sinister as the tone changes abruptly. ‘Across the Mountains Where Everything Is Silent’ is a ten minute epic that takes the listener on a soft sounding journey, making use of excellent sound bites and an innocent melody that rings throughout. The thing with an album like this is that the standout song will be different for everyone and will most likely be the one that reflects their personality or emotions at the time of listening. ‘Even Further’ is one that stuck in the mind purely cause of it’s very different sound, being a much more funky addition to the album with an upbeat beat and some groovy guitar work that’s reminiscent of 70’s rock. It’s defiantly the most optimistic but has a hint of imperfection die to the deliberate addition to a soft fuzz and cackle throughout.
What inspired you make an all instrumental album?
I’ve never been to confident with my singing, and so paired with a musical taste including post rock bands such as GY!BE, I did what I could with what I have, trying to express emotion in the songs purely with textures and sounds rather than words.
The emotions really do come through, in some very clearly. Could you speak of some of the themes in the music?
I think a lot of the album is about isolation, both personal and in my music, not feeling as if it’s ever going to go somewhere and that I’m just making it for myself, and so there’s also a sense of longing and a desire for it to break out
Looking through you’re past EP’s and album artwork, it seems that you got a fascination for aliens, does that alien thing play into the overall sound?
Haha, yeah, I’ve always been interested in the idea of extra-terrestrial life and what’s out there, and I think the idea and possibility of anything existing influenced my music in the sense that I can do and create anything and if I say it is part of my music, it is.
How do you go about titling a track, as it’s the only words connected to the song, I assume it’s really important to capture the essence of the track?
Some of them are words that came to me during writing the song, for example, the strings on ‘Endless’ seemed to constantly flow and so that’s where that came from, others are more self-explanatory such as ‘Interlude’. ‘Even Further’ was originally released with another track as a single type thing, and I titled the first one ‘Far Out’, and so that was just a continuation. ‘A Response’ is called so because it was heavily influenced by Philip Glass and so it’s kind of my take on his style, in answer to his works. ‘Across the Mountains Where Everything Is Silent’ is just an attempt to match all the ridiculously long titled songs of bands like Godspeed and Silver Mt. Zion. I’m writing songs with lyrics now for the third album, and so I think titling will take a different approach.
I see, with those new songs, will it be you singing or will you bring someone else in?
It’ll be me, I included a Daniel Johnston cover as a bonus track of the album download and I’ve written a song with lyrics, I think it’s just a confidence issue which I need to get over.
Looking forward to that. Thanks for taking the time to give me a few words, it’s been great, see you later.
No bother, thanks a lot for doing it!
Absent Friend’s self-titeld album is out now.