When talent is answered by vast appeal and large audiences, a guise is formed that makes an artist’s growth appear sudden, exponential, and calculated. In some situations, this is the case. But more often than not, an artist and their work is developed over a longer period of time. At any given time, we have our eyes on dozens of talented artists; creatives in all formats and genres. In early 2018, an 18-year-old artist from Utah came onto our radar. His growth was not explosive or particularly notable, but his brand of quaint, nostalgic tracks with warm distortion and melodics were. Bedford Falls, a distant and dynamic piano-centric song, was one of the first songs to make its way across our desk when it was released in 2017.
Months later, that artist found their way onto the radar of indie electronic super duo, ODESZA. Their label, Foreign Family Collective, made quick moves to sign the up-and-coming producer known as ford., who up to that point had released several collaborations. In the weeks that followed, ford. released two tracks with Foreign Family and last week, he announced that his debut album would be released on 16 November 2018 and in all sincerity, it’s a new and valued part of our collection.
(The) Evening basks in its own microcosm of distance and deterioration, one which feels reminiscent of lo-fi and post-rock music. But, the tracks on the record are neither unclean, nor lo-fi. They’re songs which feel deeply rooted in a sense of time, and in turn, nostalgia. “I wanted to make a project that sorta embodied that feeling of these moments that you have in the moment that might seem pretty insignificant,” ford. said in the announcement video for (The) Evening. “[Because] you realize those are like the best moments.”
These roots feel consistent with the sound design and acoustic properties of the album. When listening to track 3, Who’s to Say, I feel this sense of ambiguous loss; a sense that I’ve lost something that never existed or happened, but I’m uncertain of what it could be. Regardless, the track is calming, and reassuring in some sense. When listening, the upbeat and faded percussion betrays the ‘sad’ mood which some might feel in the aged piano; the echoing vocal sample; and the distortion. It’s a contradiction of feelings that I find compromising, but extremely welcome.
The many sonic elements of track 3 are mimicked across the EP at large in thrilling vocal performances like track 5, Craving, which features the vocals of Sarah Kinsley—”Where have I been? I’ve been craving you.” It’s a track enveloped in textured and nuanced basses which sound as if they were pressed to a dubplate for the purpose of resampling. It’s warm and distorted, but again, not messy.
Similar textured and nuanced sounds make their appearance on track 9, Bedford Falls, a strictly instrumental song which is accompanied by a warm melodious piano and lo fi-eqsue percussion. It’s a sound in-line with some of the other tracks on the album, including track 4, Slack, with Knapsack.
In conclusion, the album’s concept is nostalgic and dreamy and cohered by tracks which are similar, but not the same. Every single one of the nine tracks on (The) Evening has something individual or idiosyncratic about it, and each track comes with an offering all its own. The glue of this record is found in its semblance of acoustic and sonic properties, held together by an uncompromising vision. All-in-all, (The) Evening stands as a great example of what a debut album should be and needless to say, it’s one I’ll be listening to while I’m waiting for a followup.