A luminescent glow from a solitary tear in the night, the blood’s pulse under the full moon at the river’s edge, Paco Sala soundtrack the melancholy Other on Der Gast, their debut release for Night School. The partnership of London-based producer Antony Harrison and Berlin-bound, enigmatic vocalist Leyli, Paco Sala have been constantly evolving since their debut releases on Digitalis in 2011: Der Gast points to a future troubled by mystery, sadness and is all the more thrilling for it.
Beginning with one of Paco Sala’s most straightforward pop songs to date, Der Gast blooms with Silverheel, a reimagining of neon-glow synth pop soundtracking a drive around the giant metropolis of the heart in a stolen Trans Am. Though miles apart, it’s clear that the synergy between producer and vocalist is close: The Guest invites a breathy vocal to curl around an abstract synth form to gorgeous effect. Through out Der Gast, however, Harrison has stretched out and experimented, as fits the cassette format. There are abstracted R&B and Trap forms a- plenty on tracks like Slotter That Rep, based around a looped, delayed percussion pattern that builds to dissolution. The duo also delve into a lo-fi House music that slips in and our of focus as in 28.667. However, it’s tracks like closer T&L that ramp up the emotion, with Leyli’s Liz Fraser- esque vocal soothing and towering in alternative breaths. It’s an effect that isn’t straightforward: there’s no straight-ahead melancholia, sadness or euphoria, it’s an odd mix of all three and it works.
The sublime mixes with the teasingly intangible on Der Gast, as with much of Paco Sala’s work, with song titles hinting at an otherwordly personal language that with which Leyli communicates, but to whom? A Lover, an alter ego? Perhaps Der Gast is the creature we all run from but secretly are: the other, the outsider.
Marie Davidson's Un Autre Voyage is my next step down a newly built appreciation for Synthwave. This is music for a dark night drive - shady and foreboding - it raises the hairs, tightens the grip, and invades your space. Christopher Moklebust
I haven't heard anything like this album. Somehow it feels like a perfect description of the disconnected/hyper-connected place society finds itself in, I like that there is an ambiguousness about this work; it's not clear if artifical intelligences are here to help us or destroy us. Ferraro allows the listener space to think for themselves in his own distinctive vision. I paint while listening to this album, I find it creatively very inspiring. David Hilliard