You know that particular feeling of knowing about something prior to seemingly everyone else, and once more people catch on and later tell you about, you try not to be an insufferable ass by emphasizing how this thing, whatever it is, is not news to you? Yeah, I’m having that right now.
I first heard of SHRVL due to a streaming platform algorithm deciding that I, for once, should find something fresh and interesting to listen to. SHRVL‘s debut EP I was the one, and I remember how fascinated I was to stumble upon that neat bundle of eclectic, electronic synth-driven ambience, and how perplexed I was to find out no one else was talking about it. Either way, I found something sweet for myself and kept enjoying it occasionally, until the progressive/post-metal legends The Ocean announced their new album Holocene and stated that the album will be accompanied by another album created by their synth guy Peter Voigtmann, also known as SHRVL. Excuse me?
So I had no idea who the person behind the moniker was and what they did and to whom they did it for, but now I know, and so do you. And today, together with SHRVL and Pelagic Records, we’re glad to unveil to you the one and only single to be released from the former’s new album Limbus, and you can watch/listen to “Response” from below;
Tonally ponderous and dark, “Response” is a song of depth and meaning. Throughout the four minutes, the visuals carry you through mundane sceneries mostly bereft of life and importance, as if being a remote passenger just gliding through a city as an observer instead of a participant, as the brooding sonics evolve and gather mass continuously, clearly heading to an outcome that’ll be revealed only later on. Retro-esque, partly lo-fi synth tapestries colour the aural peripheries as a commanding electronic drum beat takes the center position to carry the song forward, with various melodies and smaller details ebbing and flowing along the way.
‘During our latest North American tour, I frequently had the feeling of being in a massive video game.
‘Especially on tour, everybody has different quests to fulfill every single day. We gain experience, we unlock achievements, our inventories need to stay organized and the range of enjoyment can vary between easy floating flow-states of pure joy, to extremely boring grinds or even feeling like being trapped in a nightmare.
‘I started to film this footage in one of these rather grim moments, but I instantly realized this allows me to resemble this exact feeling of blending reality with simulation to a degree, so that the boundaries become indistinguishable – pretty much like slowly losing your mind.’
That last sentence from Peter quite well encapsulates the underlying essence of “Response” as a track, which oddly feels far lengthier and grandiose than it is in reality. But what is this reality, anyway? The moment in time where “Response”, and SHRVL by extension resides in, is perfectly still; the only movement you’re allowed to experience as a listener is the slowly evolving and transforming song structure/s, and savour the various fluctuations and nuances as they present themselves to you, as you close your eyes and drift away to someplace bleak and sullen, yet homely.
As said, Limbus is the sister album to The Ocean‘s Holocene, and drops on the same date as part of the latter’s LP and CD versions, May 19. So make sure to catch one of those from here and keep tabs on SHRVL on the project’s Facebook to stay informed on new, haunting, and beautiful things coming your way.