I initially saw black particles‘ new record attached to the blackgaze moniker. It’s a genre that doesn’t really spark strong feelings with me; however, the record was recommended by a good friend and so I figured I’d give it a shot. After my first listen, I was thoroughly surprised with loss function, and I caught myself casually listening to it on repeat. The Hungarian band doesn’t exactly offer an experience you could simply and easily label as ‘blackgaze’ and call it a day. It’s quite honestly a little more than that, and it can be difficult to encompass.
I’d say that the sound witnessed on loss function is kind of a span across post-metal, post-rock, blackgaze, and some vague reminiscences of instrumental prog. Interestingly it’s not a cut and done deal even when put like that. To make it maybe a little more palpable, I’d say that loss function takes cues from early God is an Astronaut, Magic Night-era Violet Cold, BLACKSHAPE, and a few other areas that evade me at the moment. What’s refreshing, though, is that while there are all these callbacks and influences, it’s obvious that black particles are carving out their own path in this area of things. They have a fairly well-crystalized voice and personality, which needs only to be further refined and honed to stand perfectly on its own feet.
I was particularly enchanted by the lovely contrast between the heavier and the softer parts, which I feel relies less on the tried and true loud vs. quiet trope that’s often found in music within the ‘post-‘ realm. The final effect is very similar, or really, even better if you ask me. It feels much more dramatic and cinematic, requiring scant usage of crescendos for a similar level of that epic feel. The dynamic between these heavy and soft bits is very neat, with the progression from one to another feeling surprisingly natural, like the ebb and flow of the ocean’s waves.
Ironically, and contrasting my words above, one of my favorite parts of the album is “a fractured view”, one of the shortest tracks, featuring a more classic approach to the ‘post-‘ paradigm with a recurring ascending phrase that kind of acts like a chorus/crescendo, which is just infectiously catchy. I think it also serves as an interesting midway point for the record, as it sort of deviates from the general tone and demeanor of the other songs. It’s obviously not there just for the sake of variety, and it pivots the action nicely towards its denouement.
There’s an odd sense of dreamlike nostalgia and wistfulness that permeates almost every layer of the record. Even the heavier passages retain something from this emotive charge, albeit with a more aggressive color to it. I think this is a common leitmotif from an emotional point of view for albums in this style, so to speak, although I’m perfectly confident that loss function also touches on something that feels like loss, grievance, and hatred. I can’t really expand on that any further, since the words are just beyond my reach, and neither am I any closer from other standpoints to properly grasping these shades. I can see their contour, but not more than that – not enough to paint a clear image.
black particles conjure a very compelling narrative over the course of loss function. It’s a narrative shrouded in mystery and the vague yet crushing emotional baggage described above. I don’t understand where it goes or where it’s coming from, leaving that side of me wanting. Although, maybe I don’t have to understand and instead just sit and feel. In that sense it’s an immersive experience that is sure to leave a mark on you.