Falling Close to Memory is the culmination of a long-distance collaboration between Ezekiel Honig (in New York City) and Trevor De Nógla (in Co.Kerry, Ireland). De Nógla’s vocals and Honig’s soundtracks fit together in the most natural of ways, obscuring the fact that this is their first time working together. Though Honig has used the human voice in the past, he has never leaned this far into tracks that feature vocals/lyrics and De Nógla has sensibilities and a voice that fit perfectly in this textured, heartfelt sound environment. Using elements from ambient, techno, downtempo, house, dub, and mostly the margins in-between, Falling Close to Memory is imbued with a balance of modernizing old directions while further grounding sound design tendencies that are already tethered to the daily world around us.
The rhythm of a crowded market complements synth-like horns and bassy, muted kickdrums. Rolling percussion bumps, stutters, and shakes around vocal fragments before a piano sways gently through carefully delivered phrases. Shuffly, maraca-laced rhythms transition to luscious, layered vocals that work it out with sombre, sustained, saturated trumpets. While eschewing traditional song structure, the voice is embraced on its own terms - both in the writing and the production - intuitively creating space for introspection and ambiguity.
Contributing to four out of the six pieces, at times De Nógla sounds like a melding of Elliott Smith and Thom Yorke, accentuating the already-present, nuanced melancholia in Honig’s tracks. Comparisons help with contextualization but they only go so far, especially when considering how sounds intermingle, naturally altering how one hears each individual piece. Cast iron, plastic, wood, horns, claps, air, random objects, piano, crowds, and voice come together as a whole. Using words and phrases as sound sources, vocals are sometimes left intact and sometimes stitched together for a different textual meaning, to be approached through the listener’s individual prism of perspective. Similar to a guitar, a street, or a book, the human voice holds a multitude of associations and history, while simultaneously having unique characteristics and potential, simply as a sound.