Album: Blue Mirror
Label: Anima Recordings
Genre: Drone, Sludge, Noise, Post-Metal, Shoegaze
Release Date: January 31st, 2020
For Fans Of: Blut Aus Nord, Swans, Björk
Folian is a musical project originating from Portland, Oregon, spearheaded by David Stephen Fylstra. Combining elements of shoegaze, noise, sludge, drone, and post-metal, Folian is starting off the new year and new decade strong with the release of their debut LP Blue Mirror.
I think I will start off the review by admitting that I have had little exposure to genres such as shoegaze, noise, sludge, drone, or post-metal. Therefore, I felt fairly out of my element when listening to and trying to review Blue Mirror. However, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the album.
One of the first things that I noticed about this record and style of music is that it felt like it had a very surreal feel to it. The tunes sound slow, introspective, and melancholic. The vocals are mostly clear here, although there are often passages with harsh vocals as well, but they aren’t as abrasive or prominent as they are on, say, a typical black metal track. Often the harsh vocals are either in the background, such as on Away, or if they are in the foreground, they are backed by instrumentals loud enough so that they sound almost like they are just another instrument in the orchestra. The songs on Blue Mirror often shift between sparse passages and denser ones. The intro track This is the Place is an ambient foreword for this lonesome journey of an album. Go Alone immediately follows, with slow hypnotic melodies, heavy thumping bass, and harsh metal chords popping up midway through the track after a softer first half. Go Alone gives the listener a sense of solitude, peace, and emptiness. The next track, an instrumental titled Away, feels almost like the brewing of a storm with heavy winds and this vibe continues on into the beginning of the next track I am You. I am You relies on harsh instrumentals more than the previous songs on this album, but also has its calm acoustic moments and the sounds of the wind blowing as well, especially near the end, like the calm aftermath of the tempest. Further-Give is a short and tranquil interlude that leads into the sad and mournful Unwanted. After the somber soliloquy of Unwanted is the ruminating No Wake, which feels almost like a guided meditation in song form. In fact, No Wake feels almost like the stage of making peace with the grief of Unwanted. The slow, rhythmic beat of the following track Erasure is almost reminiscent of a slow dance song, but instead of slow dancing awkwardly with your old high school crush, your slow dancing with your favorite demons: regret, depression, and loneliness. However, Erasure still has many of the same musical features of the previous tracks as well. Tomorrow closes out the album with a calm and concise acoustic guitar instrumental, followed by many seconds of silence that is still technically part of the track.
As I have mentioned, I’m not well-versed with this style of music, so Blue Mirror was a bit of an adventure for me to listen to. The music does a good job of giving the listener a sense of solitude and isolation, like standing alone at the peak of a mountain in the Pacific Northwest, as the wind rages and settles around you, or floating helplessly through space, lost amongst the cosmos. The vocals are expressive and harmonize well with the instrumentals similar to how dark skies harmonize well with seasonal depression. The various musical influences blend seamlessly together to create a meditative, psychedelic piece of art. The songs are ethereal and dreamy at times, while also being harsh and turbulent in other parts, but the tempo never really goes above that of a slow stroll. Blue Mirror is filled with emotion and captures what it’s like to look in the mirror and feel… well… blue.
- This is the Place
- Go Alone
- I am You
- No Wake
Total Playing Time: 41:30