Malta is not a particularly bright spot on the European musical map. I’m sure there are tons of fantastic artists from the island, but as far as I know, not many have made it across the pond (in this case, the Mediterranean Sea), so Malta is something of a musical blind spot. Let’s start to change that, shall we?
Today, we are pleased to team up with Maltese dark folk duo Tryst Arcane. Described by themselved as ‘minimal dark’, the duo consists of vocalist/lyricist Alexia Baldacchino and Julian Grech on keyboards. In 2019, they released their debut album A U T U M N, which earned them a nomination at the Malta Music Awards. With their second album on the way, Tryst Arcane are definitely ready to take the world by storm with their ethereal and mysterious soundscapes. At this point I should step back and give the spotlight to Sun of Other Days, the band’s latest album, which we are premiering today!
For their second album, Tryst Arcane made room for one more. They invited Emanuel Portelli, guitarist of Maltese stoner/doom outfit Hemplifier (who released their new album The Stoner Side of Doom back in June, so check that out if you’re interested), to add another element to their intricate sound design. Now de facto a trio, the band expand their “minimal dark” approach – sure, on Sun of Other Days, Tryst Arcane stay minimal and they stay dark, but Portelli’s delicate guitar melodies add another layer of richness to the music. More often than you might expect, vocalist Alexia Baldacchino steps back for a while, giving way to layers of drone, keys and guitar to build a soundscape of tension that sometimes reminds me of The Haxan Cloak‘s work on Ari Aster‘s Midsommar.
The lyrics evoke feelings of nostalgia, loss and longing – the end of an island summer brings back memories of grief, but the protagonist tries her best to look forward. At least I hope so. On the fifth and final track on Sun of Other Days, the band swap their usually English lyrics for their native Maltese – the result is ‘LURA’, perhaps the most enchanting track on the album:
The band shared the following statement regarding the album with us:
‘Sun of Other Days’ conceptual and heterodox music is characterised by loose and lengthy song structures, centred on instrumental textures and arrangements with enthralling voice parts that together produce a hypnotic sonic experience, alluding the listener to a unique musical dimension. The lyrics, (along with the composition and music arrangements), revolve around a supernatural journey as the protagonist is involved in a space-time displacement experience happening while reminiscing about her youth on an end-of-summer day by the Maltese/Mediterranean sea. Its core theme intends to speak to the inner child of many Maltese millennials, whose summer holidays meant days by the sea, the sun, the shore’s sounds and scents, friends, adventures, imagination, innocence, fun, and freedom. We’re elated that this album is finally released and now it’s waiting to be listened to and experienced by more people.’
If you wanna catch up and stay updated with Tryst Arcane, you can follow them on their website, on Facebook and on Instagram. Sun of Other Days will see the official light of day tomorrow, August 11. You can grab the album digitally at Bandcamp, while vinyls will be available later this year.
Photo credits at Alexia Baldacchino