Dream-pop, by and large, falls into two vocal styles. You can either submerge the voice into the music, allow it to become part of a hazy, ambient background, avoid any form of direct communication and instead turn it into part of the instrumental soundscape. Or you can present it front and centre, a confident contrast to the half-heard and drifting sounds below. If you take the latter route, you have to be sure that you have a voice which can carry the song pretty much on its own. Thankfully Luca Bluefire has found just the person to undertake such a daunting task for his latest release.
Can it be 2 years ago that Himmel, one of Luca’s previous collaborative projects, was drifting across my office space. The calendar seems to suggest it was. Now recording under his own name he has enlisted the talents of Phoebe Tsen, usually found as one half of Avery Fos, to be the voice of the piece, literally, and what a great voice it is too. Sitting somewhere between a sweet pop sound and a soaring, classical performance, Tsen is perfect in the role, neither dominating nor playing the musical wallflower, her crystal clear and graceful vocals sit perfectly on, in and around the musical spaces below it.
The overall effect is otherworldly and dreamlike, slightly sensual and achingly beautiful. I’d say that is all the boxes ticked. All the ones that matter at least.