Akira Records (label)
03 July 2020 (released)
03 July 2020
There’s a warm Summer breeze of Air’s 1998 blissed-out touchstone ‘Moon Safari’ and Groove Armada’s sun-kissed transcendental moments on this follow up to 2018’s ‘Shift’. A mix of processed beats and live instrumentation (orch-pop!) that amounts to a psycho-topographical tour: inner and outer spaces are explored and elementally titled tracks such as ‘Sunlight’ and ‘Tide’ (‘love like an ocean choir’) both effortlessly rise and shine and ebb and flow *ahem*
West Country producer Henry Green was having a bad bout of writer’s block; that dreaded curse of the artist, for him the dead-end alley of perspiration without inspiration had been brought on by self-isolation, self-doubt and perpetual warring between his senses. However, from great struggle emerges profound art with that character-making episode leading to opener ‘All’.
Willing the track into existence, the lyrics ‘call all the words out of me’ were summonsed to initiate this album. As the song evolves from a hushed plaintive plea for creativity to a funky yacht-rock bliss-fugue that would set the bars of the Mediterranean ablaze any other year, the floodgates were opened, the ship ready to leave the harbour, full steam ahead for a life on the motion wave. Green’s delicate vocals and hushed, hesitant intonation rest on the shores of unsure to the certain sands of ‘it’s time.!’. His trepidation has been triumphed through tribulation.
Following two successful EPs 2015’s Slow and 2017’s Real and debut album Shift, Green’s star has risen (71 million streams on Spotify and more than 18 million on Apple Music). On ‘Half Light’ he straddles metaphorical and metaphysical quandaries and blends (thematically and dramatically) both the illuminated and shadier aspects of life, equally euphorically laid back and philosophically played back. Green is assisted on two tracks: The husky-dusky ‘Tide’ features (Bonobo, Flying Lotus, Mr Scruff collaborator) Andreya Triana on backing theatrics and ‘Idle’ has Akira label mate Ghostly Kisses who carefully whispers her coordinated cooings.
The stringstrumental ‘Yoyuu’ (named after the Japanese idiom to describe the calm before a momentous event) is a (too) brief interlude before the reviving revocations of ‘Realigned’; a classic example of how the absence of belief can serve to make the art go yonder: Green exhales the lines ‘I try to chase the outline … of the fragments of the day’ that encapsulate the quotidian quest for quality of meaning and the search for structure amongst the daily disarray.
Henry Green has re-emerged into the light, eyes wide open, unblinking with clever thinking.