When you look at the singer-songwriter, perhaps the purest form of modern music, it is easy to think that nothing has really changed over the 50 or so years since its late 60’s/early 70’s boom. But that is a fairly short-sighted way to view things. Okay, the genre, if indeed it can actually be seen as a genre at all, is still based around the same tools as it has always been, generally an acoustic guitar and a voice. It’s all you need. It’s all that has ever really been needed. Even Noel Gallagher famously said that if a song still sounds good when delivered using just these basic tools, then you probably have a good song.
But that isn’t to say that the emerging singer-songwriter, the solo troubadour, the acoustic guitar-slinger of today has anything more than a passing sonic reference to those 70’s West Coast, coffee house kings and queens. Adonis Aurelius is the perfect example of how things have moved on. Fade Away is a blend of deft, simple finger-picking, a gorgeous, striking voice and most importantly space. Lots of space. And although the song sits at the sharp end of a long tradition, it is still very much the sound of the here and now. The form has many timeless qualities but at the same time Fade Away is totally contemporary.
There is an understatement to the playing, and it is this minimalism, this creation of space which allows his voice to become even more effective, framed by simple sonic lines and resting on atmosphere and anticipation as much as by the song’s actual structures. And if the style of the song feels very much of the modern age, it is coupled with a truly timeless narrative, the idea of the memory of someone fading out of your consciousness, just as you are fading from theirs, a realisation that your lives must take you along different, separate paths, no matter how hard you wish that it would be otherwise.
If you want to hear the sound of a genre moving forward without having to reinvent itself, without employing studio tricks or technical gizmo’s to refresh the sound. Fade Away sounds part of the modern world because Adonis Aurelius is part of the modern world. The singer-songwriter format may be long established but it is reborn anew by people injecting their own personality into the mix, artists preferring to look to the future rather than rest on the past glories of the past. And Fade Away is the sound of that process in action.