It’s always nice when you can see musical evolution in action. After all, all music is built by standing on the shoulders of giants and owes at least a tip of the hat to something that has gone before. Just as Bat For Lashes swirled and seduced with the echoes of many of Kate Bush’s more exquisite moments, there is a lot found on Air To Fire, which reminds me of the music that Natasha Khan makes under that musical pseudonym.
This latest album from Anjalts is a subtle and supple blend of modern pop, inventive indie-dance grooves, ambient textures and hazy spaciousness—everything I like in pop music. But, whereas many people trying to navigate such chilled musical spaces, Anjalts music is structurally bound with cool and gentle grooves, and it is these that tether the fleeting melodies, the drifting vocals and the musical atmospherics enough to prevent them from floating off into the realms of cinematic soundtracks and ephemeral ambience.
And if songs such as Touch ‘n’ Go are everything I have described above, the title track reminds us that she is about more than one trademark sound. Here, she takes an acoustic folk song and drapes it in gossamer sonics to smooth off the edges and gently define its beautiful minimalism, but it remains more at home in the indie-folk world than anywhere else.
Remember You is the song for you if you want something with a more complex and busy beat pattern. Still, even this allows plenty of room for gorgeous sounds to pool and percolate in the spaces between, not only those intended to be there but all manner of atmospheres and anticipations that seem more than the sum of the song’s parts.
Air to Fire is one of those albums that the more you listen to it, the more it defies categorisation; all the best albums do this. Each successive play reveals hidden depths and more ornate undercurrents, pushing the music increasingly further away from easy pigeon-holing and generic placement. Each spin feels more rewarding than the last. It’s an album you don’t just play but one with which you start a relationship. Soon you find that it is also an album you cannot help but fall for.