Emo ambient is definitely having a moment this year, which is great for me since this is right square in my wheelhouse. futureangelics is a collaboration I never expected, but one I am so incredibly thankful for. Gauzy moods hold hands with crystalline tones in this fuzzy, warm aural embrace of an album. Understated as it is, it sits in this pocket close to your heart, emanating this static, comforting reminder that someone or some interminable force will be there when you need them most.
What’s so impressive is how seamless everything sounds and how flawless the production is. The trio’s ideas blend together so that you can definitely hear everyone’s style and contribution, but you can never be quite sure who is doing what (save for more eaze’s vocals, which hang over the sonic sheen like a halo). Looping, mournful guitars on “Lauren III” dig through the depressive bedrock as Mari’s voice drips with longing as the song comes to an abrupt, clattering conclusion, leaving no chance to say goodbye. Floating in the aftermath, peace emerges in the form the aptly titled “We Find Our Center.” Watery synths and rhythms are effervescent, rising toward the surface propelled on a cloud of chord swells and, again, Maris’ voice, ready to try again.
Details play a central role on futurangelics. Songwriting chops are a given when it comes to these three artists, but the way in which they shade the borders and accent each movement is stunning. It’s like being in a forest far away from the city and closing your eyes; you hear a thousand different, interconnected sounds that all work together to create something greater, something beautiful. Buried melodies that intermittently drift into focus on “Harmnx,” precisely placed samples from domestic life and barely-audible whispers on “Waver,” and stretched vocals that barely sound like vocals on “Lauren III” all add so much texture to this world, making it a place you can feel, not just hear.
futurangelics is a highly processed echo of real life where familiar day-to-day chaos is slowed down and polished so it feels inviting and manageable in a way that our current experience is not. There’s a moment on “Night Squirrel” where guitar emerges from the digital mist and broken chord changes channel Celine Dion. In this fractured, dystopian way that encapsulates a lot of what I’m feeling right now. As it transitions into haunted, rhythmic escapes and electronic debris before fizzling out with barely a murmur, “Night Squirrel,” and futurangelics generally lasts forever, hanging in the air like a spectre of past, transfixed and pointing ahead with arms open wide. I never want it to end. more eaze, brin, and dntel really are three angels.