The Universe Remembers – Sebastian Reynolds (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It isn’t so much the case that Sebastian Reynolds hops genres or even attempts to merge them like some sort of sonic alchemist, it is more that he floats without concern above them. And whilst you could make a good argument for elements of avant-garde classical, trip-hop, free jazz and ambient experimentation all finding their way into this alluring alchemical sonic crucible, it doesn’t stay in one place long enough or dedicatedly enough to be able to be labelled one thing or another.

Aesthetics and expression seem to be at the forefront of the music rather than traditional song structure, as well as a wonderful dynamism, wandering as it does from the gentle, lilting grooves and eastern vibes of the title track to the unexpected, bursts of post-rock sound-scaping that punctuate Everest.

Opener Amoniker is a clever reversal of roles with the voice often providing the beat and the music a more drifting, slightly random, vocal-like component whilst the last of this sonic quatrain You Are Forgotten builds from a strange, slow-burning collection of half-heard sounds, like a number of radios being repeatedly and randomly re-tuned and somehow finding musical harmony, into a more structured, pulsing and palpitating ritualist dance.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about any music is not what it has to say but what it has to say about the person behind it and where they draw their inspiration. In The Universe Remembers you can hear the bounds of modern classical music being gently tested, you detect eastern traditions and dystopian visions, references to The Waste Land, which this music truly bares comparison to in the way it hunts and gathers, references and weaves its building blocks together, near jazz experiences and far-flung futurist conjurations.

This might not be the sound of our future but it is the sound of a future and even as I typed that I realise that I don’t really know what that means but it seems as good a way to end as any!

Sebastian-Reynolds · The Universe Remembers

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