It doesn’t happen all that often, but when Forbes Graham releases new music into the world it’s a cause for celebration. Graham’s work always challenges me as a listener even if, on some level, it’s easy to engage with and take in. The palette veers between familiar and jarring on “You Are Going To Be There” and the webs connecting the two are the focal point. Discordant drones open the piece and immediately begin a slow descent, frequencies dropping like temperatures in November while hitting stumbling blocks along the way.
Details become beacons in these stretched-out tones, splitting like errant molecules adrift in this sonorous river. Voices are cut to shreds and reassembled, barely recognizable as they swirl around the spatial plane. “You Are Going To Be There” has a lot going on, but Graham melds it together seamlessly as it continues, like we all do, toward some indeterminate point. Electronic patterns glean hypnotic imagery from decaying wreckage, those voices now soaked through and bass-heavy still trying to dodge each synthetic swirl to get ahead. They fail in the end, but the journey through the static still has purpose.
In the description for the release, Graham shares this poem:
There’s something about life
That wears you down
So you become a stone
Wears down all stones.
As “You Are Going To Be There” pulses and blips its way into a subterranean oblivion, the overwhelming feeling I get is to simply lie back and let the aural gloss cascade across my psyche. The intensity that culminates in the last stretches of the electric chaos is overwhelming, dizzying. And yet, because of the long winding path to get to this point, to take in all the turns Graham puts us through, it is wholly satisfying. The quiet conclusion lands with a reassuring whisper.
Certain parts of “You Are Going To Be There” still gnaw at me after a dozen listens, especially the voices. The message seems clear, but the choppy delivery leaves more questions. I don’t need to figure it out – that’s not really the point – but this aspect of Forbes Graham’s work is why I’m such a fan and why I’ll keep returning.