Glasgow-born, Berlin-based producer Rudi Zygadlo has always taken the road less travelled with melody and instrumentation but on new song Melpomene, from his forthcoming debut album on Planet Mu, he tells a wider story about listening, and about patience.
It opens with a surge; a flyaway piano melody that sounds like the shadows of the seagulls flying across my computer screen as I write this: sonic silhouettes forever dancing into the sun. Then, without warning, gravity plays its favourite trick, dropping us into a strange, almost spooky, atemporal interlude: out of time, out of this time, but, also, timeless. He sings of falling in love again, alluding to its simultaneous beauty and pain. Then the pace quickens and we’re swept up once more, carried high on a warm breeze, away from reality and towards possibility.
Melpomene is a song that reveals itself over time, that sounds clearest after the third or fourth listen, once the shock of the unusual rhythm has been softened with familiarity. Its power lies in anticipation, rewarding the patient listener with a very different kind of sonic high to that reaped from repeating beat patterns.
For like Laurel Halo’s ‘Quarantine’ and James Blake’s self-titled debut, Rudi Zygadlo recalls folk’s poetic form and unbound structure on Melpomene. Zygadlo, Halo and Blake are part of a new wave of electronic musicians who aren’t afraid to fuck around with dance music’s traditional structures, who forgo the banger for the long-game, opening up the form in thrilling new ways. Like the greats of modern classical from Glass to Reich, they reach within to unravel new paths, spark new epiphanies and build new ground for all to run free.