Monday, 9 April 2018

Sarah Longfield "Collapse // Expand" (2017)

Sarah Longfield is one of a fair few rising stars in the "Youtube Musician" world that's been steadily growing over these last few years. Her flashy guitar skills and rainbow paint 8 string guitar stand out in the crowd. A new single and music video had me come check this record out! However I just learned its actually over a year old but who says you can't release singles for old songs? Its definitely one of the best songs of the albums ten tracks which clock in at thirty seven minutes.

Sarah's style falls very snugly into the colorful, guitar revolving post-Djent sound that's seen Meshuggah's violent use of 8-strings guitars somehow evolve into a fruitful musical forum of bright, luminous guitar playing that puts dazzling melodies and blazing lead guitar skills at the forefront of its ambitious sound. It mostly began with Animals As Leaders and Gru who Sarah doesn't distinguish her music from much with this record. The jittery, fluttering electronic percussion and sweeping, looping melodies feature heavily and with tracks like "Concentration Chaos" where she actually steps further into the electronic side of this sound with a very interesting composition that's got an alien, yet harmless, curious atmosphere about it.

The electronics are a huge part of this record and the opening song "A New Discovery" doesn't make a first impression well. Its opening guitar chords and glitched synth noises sound almost lifted from the Animals As Leaders blueprint. However as the album develops its electronic presence becomes integral as sweeping synths, busying melodies and all flavors of rich synth tones wrap themselves around the guitars with a dreamy helping of reverberation. In some moments the lead guitar tones even seem to merge or morph with them as its layers of sounds work in tandem.

The Djent aspect is really downplayed. No big punching tones are accentuated and the moments where the music drops back to rhythm guitar are sparse and well executed with temperate grooves and light yet punchy distortions. The lead guitar playing is phenomenal with luscious two handed tapping sweeping up and down the strings in semi acoustic tones, interchanging with traditional lead playing with a pick, all across bright, colorful and inspired melodies one can follow with adventure. Her vocals too feature at attune moments where her soft and meek voice can find its space to evolve the atmosphere.

These songs are wonderful at breezing their way through a journey. With a lack of traditional song structure they twist and turn, weaving their webs with a sense of journey that has you riding the melody from one moment to the next. Its the density of the additional elements around the lead guitar that really solidify and holds its presence to command a bright, warm, slightly alien atmosphere that's intriguing and charming from start to finish.

Favorite Tracks: Ember, Tydes, Illuminate
Rating: 7/10