Often, when given the challenge of conveying an artist within a limited word count, journalists hone in on a singular word which quickly becomes replicated in every article relating to their work. For FAVELA this name tag of sorts is “multi-instrumentalist”, and while accurate, it is beyond an oversimplification of his talent. From releasing his debut EP ‘Future Visions’ back in 2015 to his compilation album in 2019, everything FAVELA creates ripples with atmospheric electronic perfection. Now to complete his hat trick of LPs, FAVELA releases the calming Commensality. A twelve-track masterpiece heavily laden with his signature harmonic waterfalls of falsetto and a title used to describe a group of people who do not compete in the same place.
Opening with the meditative ‘Homingbird’, FAVELA’s vocals sedate the world in mere seconds before rebuilding it with lullabies of bass, synths and angelic choirs of melodies. There’s no rushing anything in this track which takes eight minutes to reach its final destination. Inspired by his own drawn-out road trips, FAVELA has captured the perfect sunset through the deepening texture and sets up the album to explore movement, constantly searching for something lyrically and flowing between musical states.
As is a common trait in electronic music, repetition is key. Yet, here it is not boring nor overused. ‘Dipped My Toes’ is the perfect example of this. A standout track, the slow phrases transcend audio states to sink fully into the listener’s consciousness. In such an emotive situation, this technique allows the listener to slot themselves into the music and claim the story as their own.
Similarly expansive, ’Would it Change a Thing?’ is a wonder of experimental submerged beats, compressing against choirs of questions and light strings. An enticing percussion section exposes FAVELA’s intuitive ear for rhythm, previously highlighted in the hummingbird drums of 2015 track ‘Gong’. Likewise, ‘Breathing’ harks back to past releases, momentarily leaving the album’s calm waves for an upbeat mantra to survive break up and learn how to breathe again on your own.
Ending with ‘How Long?’ it feels like the album is ready to repeat itself as FAVELA calls back to the opener, proclaiming “I’ll keep on searching for you like a homingbird”. With such a wide base for interpretation, the album feels as if it will never listen the same each time around. In the words of FAVELA himself: “You live and learn”. It seems impossible to not embrace some kind of message from the album and learn something new through each listen.
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Image courtesy of KASA.