Making an EP of meditative electronic music feel like a complete listening experience is a difficult task. Making a 7” that feels like a full listening experience is near impossible. Somehow, Chubby Wolf (aka the greatly missed Danielle Baquet-Long of Celer) pulls it off with this lovely little 7” for Low Point.
With Side A, titled “Free Time Spent Dreading the Inevitables, Soaring in Availables, Wording the Operatives”, we get 6 minutes of spectral hum. All the source sounds and layers are indiscernible. It’s as if standing at the outskirts of an industrial cityscape and hearing the low hum of mechanical and human activity delicately feeding off of one another; there is a harmony to it all that’s only apparent when you stand outside of it. There’s a harnessed beauty, a quiet optimism even, to the song. Even as the title of the song suggests, it’s about vague ideas, intangibles. But it’s also about possibility in the most positive sense of the word.
If Side A felt like the beauty was being harnessed, even the title of Side B, “If You Love Me”, feels more direct. Side B lets it all out. Part of what makes ‘The Darker Sex’ work and feel complete is the sense that there is a narrative to it. The move forward between Side A and Side B makes it feel like, from a narrative standpoint at least, there was a whole middle section to the story that Dani left out; a wise choice too, because it works. Side B feels as if all the layers of source sounds are much more intertwined. Sure, there are still those ghostly sounds that sneak up on the periphery to fill out the sound, but somehow the song seems more at peace, less restless than the opener. And the control suggests that this ebb and flow, this sense of narrative that exists between the two songs, was as deliberate as can be.
Even though only eleven some odd minutes, ‘The Darker Sex’ is a wonderful and full listening experience. This is one we’re lucky to have, don’t miss it.