Published on Monday, 11 May 2015 18:42
Band: The Hills Mover
Album: Dead Notes [EP]
Release date: 11 May 2015
05. The Unbearable Lightness Of Dancing
History seems to repeat itself, as a year ago I fell head over heels in love with Thot, a Belgium based vegetal noise band, ran by the immensely talented young musician Grégoire Fray. Now, after eight years, Fray decided to revive his old post-folk project, The Hills Mover with an EP Dead Notes, and just I was overran by the hectic, pulsating sensations of Thot's 2014 The City That Disappears, I am now overwhelmed by the transcendental ambient of The Hills Mover. To be perfectly honest, when I gave this EP the first spin I didn't really came to feel it on a proper scale and thought I would cope heavily by putting my thoughts into words. But then one day, as I was driving on an empty highway under the Slovenian Alps, with a clear, blue sky over me and Sun caressing my skin softly, surrounded by stunningly beautiful mountains and green forests and Dead Notes on my player, I saw and felt the songs in a completely different way. I was trapped in a moment when the ravishing nature symbiotically fused with ethereal and melancholic aestheticism of the songs and I fell in love again.
Dead Notes delivers an emotional journey through six songs, relying on a very minimalistic song structure, shifting from aerial tranquillity to poetic obscurity. The beauty of it lies in a passionate portrayal of a kaleidoscope of feelings, which emit sentimental romanticism, distortion of mind and the dense darkness in a very personal and narrative way. If in The City That Disappears Fray put the hectic everyday on a pedestal, with Dead Notes he's exploring its opponent: the vigour of nature and how to find yourself again, how to get in touch with your soul and deal with your thoughts. The opening track "Relieved" opens up with a slight feeling of tension, and then just as the song title suggests, displays a sort of relief with an eerie melody hidden behind Fray's incandescent singing and acoustic guitar melodies. The following "Windwalkers" is the most perfect example of what I exposed earlier, as it starts peacefully and its atmosphere heightens and heightens and becomes denser, more and more asphyxiating as you go along with it, until it reaches its peak towards the end. A great deal in developing the sensation inside this song goes to Fray's vehement vocals, as you can feel he unveiled himself and poured his soul into his music. And from this point on, you're heading for a rollercoaster ride of gloomy tunes, as the ambient thickens and descends into the abyss of darkness as you dance along. And if The City That Disappears was influenced by the heartbeat of great European cities, Dead Notes touches other spheres, which are more in touch with nature and history. As the songs were composed and recorded also in Poland and Czech Republic, two Slavic gods got their homage: "Šiwa", a goddess of fertility and life and "Vélès", a god associated with the underground. The two juxtaposed deities again display the beautiful dichotomy of everything, which surrounds us, or exists within us. With "Šiwa" blossoming a bit more peacefully, with a romantic touch, the following, intense and gloomy "The Unbearable Lightness Of Dancing" nicely twists the atmosphere towards the grandeur ending, as you enter the underworld, ruled by "Vélès"; a sombre and forlorn tune which wraps up the story of Dead Notes.
Building on simplistic acoustic guitar arrangements and playing with his vocal chords, Grégoire Fray eloquently poured his personal prints and impressions through his alter-ago, The Hills Mover, in beauteous soundscapes, which deliver a pastiche of colours and shades, from bright and colourful to stygian and murky. But to really got to know it, I suggest you give Thot a try, if you haven't already, to get the feel how these two worlds - which are basically the same, yet so very different - are connected. Imagine sitting on a porch in a warm midsummer night, with a glass of wine in your hands; carefree and careless, gazing into the reddish skies, sleepy meadows and trees swaying in a summer breeze and watching how the day descends into the night and you will get a glimpse of what Dead Notes brings. An astounding, dynamic flow of ambiances, which - in their simplicity of sound - hide incredibly strong and profound personal stories.
Review written by: Ines