Album: Let’s Emerge – Pye Corner Audio

His Black Mill Strips The series, released over the past 12 years or so, mixes elements of contemporary dance music, epic electronic soundtracks, concrete music and dense, dark atmospheres. The sound of dark soot dust descending on an isolated hill, it’s both comforting and claustrophobic. 2021 tangled roots, meanwhile, was inspired by the underground conversational pathways of plants, taking listeners on a journey through these neural networks. This is music made for The Upside Down – why run up a hill when you can dig deep into nature’s crawl spaces?

Let’s emerge!, Jenkins’ second release for Sonic Cathedral, is, as the title suggests, a very different beast. There are similar sonic touchstones, sure, but it feels like he opened the doors and let the sun in.

The theme, that of coming out of hibernation, has particular resonance when viewed as cultural commentary after years of isolation behind closed doors, but there is something else going on here. Let’s emerge! is the sound of Jenkins’ music coming out of itself. Where he was once introspective and reflective, exploring inner spaces and worlds of his own making, here he is facing the light, back straight, arms outstretched, eyes open.

From the elegiac opening swishes of “De-Hibernation”, to the circular tones and drones of “Lyracal” and the marine synths of “Let’s Emerge Part One”, there is a new lightness in Jenkins’ sound. They are compositions to fill vaulted atriums and overload the senses. Even on the centerpiece “Let’s Emerge Part One” and “Luminescence,” where the tone is more similar to Jenkins’ earlier work, there’s still a new urgency. Where previous releases had grooves defined by singsong hesitation, now there’s a curious gallop – the sound of a song exploring the world rather than shrouding itself in mystery.

This is made much easier by the addition of label mate Andy Bell’s guitar. The result of a creative exchange that saw Jenkins remix tracks from Bell’s debut solo album The view halfwayRide’s guitarist has held his end of the bargain beautifully, adding weight, texture and architectural counterpoint to half the tracks here.

The pacing throughout is perfect and culminates in the rolling pulse of the seven and a half minute “sun heat”. Named, we guess, after the 1964 Beach Boys song, it’s a soaring salute, blending art-rock minimalism, experimental synths and enchanted Balearica.

It’s not pop music, far from it, but Let’s emerge! is an unexpected summer feelgood hit.

@jahshabby

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