In early July, I recorded an interview with the French composer, Colleen. We talked about the long journey you go through after a major loss in your life, and how, sometimes, in the hands of an artist that process of grieving and healing can give rise to something beautiful. Such works are a gift to the world, their permanence can help us in those moments when our defence mechanisms begin to fail and the force that pushes our lives forward seems full of shadows.
Matt Evan’s partner, the sculptor and eco-feminist Devra Freelander lost her life in a bicycle accident in 2019. In the notes to this album he writes that Devra “was a light, and through her life and art, she worked tirelessly to imagine ways of expressing empathy and love on a geologic scale". Those of us who have lost a loved one recognise the ways loss can change the very ground beneath our feet, transforming the emotional landscape of our lives. Evans' new album, Touchless, channels that journey, wrapping the listener in pieces that form a kind of a glacial refuge. Each track is a space inhabited by masses of repetition, drones that distort and stretch the escape tunnel, the light of the outside world flickering at an unrelenting distance.
With the help of musicians like Tristan Kasten-Krause, David Lackner and Elori Saxl, Evans has built pieces that seem to go directly to the center of what is unknown inside the listener’s own sense of self, not just the body and its odd mortalities but heart and spirit also. In fact, listening seems like the wrong word for these tracks, which can be felt somewhere closer, almost flickering in the ears. Touchless is a gem that dreams in colours, each track a bubble that a child blows into an open sky, hoping it will float forever.