Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? asked Deerhunter on their eighth studio album, which appeared back in January of this year. Less than a year later, they’ve returned with a new song–a 13-minute, partially-improvised opus titled “Timebends”.
And holy crap is the result stunning!
The song is mellow, contemplative, meditative. It’s dreamy and introspective. Listen below:
With the song structure in place, the band recorded “Timebends” and its corresponding improve session, according to the 4AD press release direct to tape in one take with minimal overdubs and mastered using a completely analog signal chain.
The accompanying video, directed and edited by Bradford himself, was shot by Marisa Gesualdi and Sarah Gold. It too follows the more avant-garde nature of the song with film overlays, opacity adjustments (obviously, given the overlay), and vivid color work.
YouTube commenter Benjamin Frost notes: Bradford seems to have a sort of existential fierceness, which I admire.
I have to agree, though Cox makes it a bit blatant throughout his work–the title of the recent album and that of “Timebends” seem to hint at an underlying questioning–or at least pondering–of our own existence.
Harkening Back to Early Deerhunter
“Timebends” and its accompanying video recounts the earlier, more avant-garde days of both Deerhunter and the Bradford Cox solo project Atlas Sound.
Typical, when an artist I enjoy or admire releases new material, I always like to pull out and listen to their past records if I have them in my collection.
While I haven’t delved into the earliest moments of Deerhunter’s work, I did pull out my copy of the bands 2007 Kranky Records debut, Cryptograms, which, on vinyl, came as a double LP and also included the Fluorescent Gray EP.
You can hear the lineage of “Timebends” in songs like “Octet” off Cryptograms, with a more experimental or improvisational aura to them. This album, as a whole, fit very well into Kranky’s portfolio. The label sides on putting out releases that emphasize these two elements.
The Fluorescent Gray EP follows suit, and the title track is the perfect example of how Deerhunter creates the idea of experimentation and improvisation even if it isn’t always fully present:
As Deerhunter moved away from Kranky to 4AD, Cox started to create more cohesive songs for his records, leaving behind many of the more experimental elements of his early days.
A Return to Experimentation
While experimentation never disappeared entirely, Deerhunter seems to have returned slightly to more experimental ways in Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
Like Cryptograms, the eighth studio LP pads songs with instrumental tracks that delve into Cox’s more meditative side.
Album closer “Nocturne” blends the two, and leaves the listener with one of the most powerful, contemplatively poignant tracks on the album:
Following that with “Timebends” seems to be a natural progression for Deerhunter.
Cox has always been a fascinating character, and “Timebends” continues to cement him as one of the most intriguing installments in indie music today. His legacy continues to grow, continues to flourish, and continues to inspire.