natriums – Façade
Type: Full-length album (LP)
Release date: 27 May 2017
Label: Asura Revolver
- Digital download (Asura Revolver, 2017)
Recommendation: ✂ (“For You”)
Released a week after the masterful Empire by R0x4ry, Façade by Louisville, Kentucky producer natriums continued the revitalization of the Norwegian label Asura Revolver – owned and operated by the aforementioned R0x4ry. It was the third overall full-length from natriums and first release not on the Pizza Beast label (f.k.a. Pizzabox Society). Façade is an album with a cover artwork that looks like Emil Antonucci’s drawings for Grendel by John Gardner – although this release has far less absurdism. The album is primarily ambient with influences from deep house, due in no small part to its placement on Asura Revolver and natriums’ involvement with artists from the hardvapour and dreampunk scene.
Façade subtly describes anxiety and self-effacement in the face1 of changes, especially regarding relationships. The album title itself refers to the act of putting on a façade; those who suffer from mental illness often describe feeling like they have to put on a mask when engaging with other people.2 Track titles like “Anxious Remedies”, “Another Year, Alone Again”, and the (perhaps on-the-nose) yearning “I Love You, And I Miss You So Much…”3 imply inabilities to figure oneself out and disappointment at one’s engagement with the world. This directly informs the somewhat lugubrious music that is belied by the surprisingly sexy opener “Spleen Arrow”.
The ambient bits are played hard on tracks such as “Poltergeist”, “Proper”, and “Red Tile Palace”. In particular, “Red Tile Palace” has some small glitch effects that add some needed flavor late into the album. The nearly ten-minute “I Love You, And I Miss You So Much…” recalls the solemnity of Shima33 on albums such as Disgraceful. albeit without the drone. For the most part, each song plays along with cold keyboard leads that fade in and out of their own ambiance, sounding as if they are much a part of the foreground as they are the background.
Façade is decent ambient music, but it is a long release at fifty-one minutes. The longer tracks meander a bit, replacing contemplation for dwelling. Perhaps that’s part of the whole deal, but it’s not quite strong enough musically to pass the “did this on purpose” test. However, there are a couple moments on which natriums shines in the mist of solemnity, which is best demonstrated by “For You”. Start there, and continue on to “Another Year, Alone Again” and “Red Tile Palace”. Fans of FaltyDL should check out the whole thing from the beginning – but “Rethryo” in particular.
1. Spleen Arrow – (4:03)
2. River Rave – (3:12)
3. For You – (4:53)
4. Anxious Remedies – (4:18)
5. Proper – (6:20)
6. Poltergeist – (4:33)
7. Rethryo – (3:54)
8. Red Tile Palace – (3:24)
9. Namu – (4:32)
10. Another Year, Alone Again – (3:53)
11. I Love You, and I Miss You So Much… – (9:38)
1I made a pun! Momma, be proud!
2Source: uh, I talk to people.
3The length of the title reflects the length of the song.
4… or perhaps the sexiness is the point, being a façade and all.