Moses Sumney - græ

Devrim Berk Gürakar
May 15, 2020
[art pop, ambient pop]

Moses Sumney has finally released the second part of his double album grae and now the time has come to put this whole work in an appropriate light. grae deals with many profound topics that Sumney expresses more or less clearly in extremely poetic lyrics. At the beginning of the album, the topic of isolation is thrown into the room, but shortly afterwards it is made clear that the listener is now being led into a gray area. The human gray area between feelings, causes and solutions that accompanies us every day, albeit often unnoticed. Sumney asks the right questions to get closer to himself. He converts them into songs in which he tells almost whole stories with his impressive falsetto.

"Cut Me" is a perfect start to the album. Plucked double bass, drums and wind instruments create a rousing rhythm. A futuristic jazz song with which the artist wrote an ode to Aretha Franklin. A contrast program with "Virile" follows with contrast as one of several songs discussing masculinity. Dark, rock-like sounds unfold, his voice is expressive, and harp sounds can be heard. How to develop certain ideas in prison and whether you dare to break out is his question. Sumney's demeanor suggests that he is feeling well on the way without conforming to the established notions of masculinity. 

The first half of the album discusses topics by directly addressing the general public. Whether driving tribal drums in conveyors, futuristic spoken words in boxes or clear jazz sounds mixed with whale singing in "Gagarin,” the creative energy bubbles towards the listener with every song. Sumney's voice sounds so distorted on “Gagarin” that it could be mistaken for the sounds of a saxophone. The beautiful song "Colouour" was co-produced by FK-J. In addition to the saxophone, there are also occasionally psychedelic waving wind instruments and, in addition to minimal melodies, almost all of the songs focus particularly on the unique voice of the American singer. One of the highlights of the first half of the album is "Polly,” a bittersweet track that exudes a tangible vulnerability. While a guitar plays softly to himself, Sumney sings unrequited love about the pain. His voice is duplicated, and the song creates a wonderful pull. 

The second half of the album continues with the personal level that "Polly" created. The artist uses the ego form regularly, and the songs seem to make a more acoustic impression. Atmospheric, rippling songs like "Bystanders” and "Keeps Me Alive" bring the album to a gentle end. With "Me in 20 Years,” the album beckons the debut album Aromanticism carefully, as Sumney ponders a lot about his loneliness and apparent incompatibility.

In general, "Neither / Nor,” has almost progressive arrangements. The song has full of ideas that soon it wraps you like a silk blanket. While listening, jazz ideas meet in the piano drops of the ethereal "Gagarin,” in the creeping rhythm of "Colouour" and in the acoustic guitar gently caressed with the look of Amy Winehouse on "Keeps Me Alive”. There are sounds to find wandering through the open spaces of Bjork's pastoral folk in songs such as "Two Dogs" (the story of the two dogs that Moses had as a child, precisely one white and one black) and "Bystanders.”

grae addresses people directly in their emotionality. The album asks questions and provides answers to unexplainable phenomena in society. It is a musically and lyrically demanding work that once again proves Sumney's creative genius. No matter how often you listen to the 20 songs, you always discover something new, and the multilayered lyrics are definitely worth reading in between.


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