Hourglass is a song which says so much about the musical world we find ourselves in today. With the abandonment of the old tribal allegiances, the hard and fast rules which created rigid styles, musicians are freer to make music which wilfully fuses genres, cross-pollinates sounds and gene-splices musical DNA. Less and less are we presented with music which conforms strictly to one form or another, but which is instead free to pick and chose the sonic building blocks it uses from a wide and ever changing source.
What Daarien has created takes that idea to its logical conclusion and what we find is that classical grandeur sits comfortably alongside trip-hop cool, chilled electronica with hazy dream-pop landscapes, the urban with the urbane. The real charm is this seamless blend of an ambient vibe with seeping electronica, of majestic but distant atmospherics, of intrigue and anticipation, of restraint and understatement. Even when the textures and sonic layers are writ large they are done so in a water-colour style application rather seeking to make their point through vibrant, thick oils. (Not the best of analogies but I’m sure you understand the point I’m making.) The result is a series of windswept and gossamer like sounds hanging around the lead lines rather than anything more intrusive or bombastic.
Neo-classical charm is threaded through futuristic beats, plaintive electronica washes through vocal delicacy, dance floor culture is turned into smoke and anagrams and dream-pop vibes soak into a wholly new sensual and understated EDM sound. This understated and majestic grace runs through the video as well, as it leads us through a narrative filled with sumptuous backdrops and rich colours and upmarket locations.
But more than anything this song is all about the vocals which hang somewhere between classical choral, almost religious tones and the sort of dramatic world-pop that came so easily to the likes of Lisa Gerrard and Dead Can Dance. It contains the same music as an instrument qualities which make it occasionally merge into the music to become another beguiling and exotic layer in the songs make up rather than merely the narrative device.
Timeless is a word that is much over used when applied to music, but here Daarien does indeed fashion something timeless, something that references the past but looks to the future but also something without genre, location or direction. Why road sign your music for the listener, far better surely, to have them follow you off the beaten track with eyes full of wonder, open to adventure and ready to go with the flow?