Beacon – Escapements

An exercise in forced reductionism...

It seems that 'Escapements', the second album from New York producers Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett under their Beacon alias, is an exercise in forced reductionism. Across eleven slowly-evolving tracks you hear a sparse framework of spaces, drawing from IDM and modern electronic pop reference points, but you're left with the distinct impression that something's deliberately been erased from the mix.

It's a technique that leaves thudding tracks like 'Better Or Worse', with its bubbling synths and 4/4 rhythm, not quite reaching the euphoric heights you'd normally expect from sounds and arrangements that draw from the dancefloor. It's only when you get to the comparatively full 'You're Wondering' that things seem to coalesce into a solid, multi-layered, urgent sprawl. This album concerns itself principally with time, and it rather feels like the duo have sought to imbue every second with heavy nuance.

Weaving through the skeletal beats and eddying spirals of synths and tones is Thomas Mullarney's gently soulful voice, a constant in spite of the musical mixed messages he presides over. On tracks like the skittering, pared-back drum 'n' bass of 'Cure', Mullarney's vocal drifts through the mix like an anxious, restless wraith, carrying a tender emotional resonance that seems wonderfully at odds with the muted atmosphere of the music. This is a strong record that's all the more powerful for being so wonderfully, majestically disjointed.


Words: Mat Smith (@mjasmith)

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