Falun Gong Dancer – Telefís (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Falun Gong Dancer is one of those songs built of the rarest of commodities to be found in the rock and pop world. Restraint. All too often are artists in a rush to hit the listener with the latest clever hook or sassy piece of songwriting. Sadly, even more often they seem in a rush to deliver something average and below par but which sees the conformist music scene snaffle it up due to its newness and perceived faddishness or fashion.

Well, nothing is further from the truth here. The delivery of the latest song from Telefís, which sees the coming together of Cathal Coughlan and Jacknife Lee, is so spacious, so episodal, so languidly drawn out, that it seems almost like a series of false endings, so final do the pauses between the vocal washes seem. And that is what makes it work so well. Not only does it cause the listener to lean into the music, listening closely and anticipating perhaps a dynamic lift that never comes, but it makes you aware of the beauty of musical nothingness, or near-nothingness at least, as apart from the occasional piano note, the song is built only on these sparse and spaced vocal deliveries.

And yet it is still one of the most beguiling tracks you will have heard in a long time. And the real high spot? The end. Rather than sign off with a flourish or a big finish, the song just fades away, the vocals seeming to just forget to come back rather than wrapping things up in a logical fashion.

It’s amazing how gorgeous and how effective near-nothing can be, at least when in the hands of two real masters of the songwriting trade.

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