Adam Fielding returns from a run of more ambient drenched electronica albums to something a little more sci-fi tinged and cinematic with his new album Mesmera. His album Lightfields which embodies everything cinematic and sci-fi in an album is still one of my all-time favourite electronica albums and so I was personally super excited to see Adam returning back to this sound.
“Standing on a Precipice” opens the album in a vast epic soundscape. The track takes its time, breathing in the acoustic guitar, the faint vocal layers, the wide and spacious synths and the throbbing kick drums. It’s chill-out music but an edge because it feels so cinematic and poised at the same time. It gradually builds to something more of a rolling thunder call into the slow-motion techno of “Our Secret Destination”. It’s the kind of sound you’d find in a dystopian future indie game that’s gone for a low poly art style and I love it. Calm, chilled, melodic, driven but with a minor lamenting about each instrument and chord no matter how warm the production is. “Everything Felt New” moves us into the serene with some lovely floating female vocal echoes soaring alongside sweeping synths, chunky drums and a lonely acoustic guitar. The mixture gives the track, and indeed the album, an epic but personal feel and it’s quite a unique palette to enjoy. The title track then washes all the epic sounds away with a cathartic rhythmic heartbeat and deep ocean like synths that slowly crawl in and out of the track – I feel like I’m in the womb – or doing yoga – or both.
“The Road Less Travelled” starts the push back towards the cinematic synth work with looping chord structures that like to jump about and surprise you with its combo of off-beat kicks and electric guitar sections that are underpinned with metallic shining synths so you can’t quite tell if its real guitar or not. “Lost and Found” follows the same format but works its best to hide all the chords, melodies and beats in a much more subtle way. It’s like each instrument is muted down for a midnight groove. “A Faint Recollection” is the albums stop for pause. A spacious acoustic guitar-based piece that has light, airy and angelic synths circulating around it. It’s such a simple piece but it stands out because of how clean and fresh it sounds. It kickstarts off a newer feeling in the album which “From A Forgotten Past” takes to new heights where more acoustic instruments lead and the synths play back up rather than the other way round for the first half of the album. The different guitars and dulcimer-like instruments give an Eastern feel and the pounding tom drums make everything sound epic as all hell. The more cleansed and organic feel continues into “An Endless Downpour” which just soft, but huge in the mix piano notes alongside lots of warm percussion, synth work and ambient effects to create what felt to me like an electronica forest space. It’s slow motion and huge reverb adds to the atmosphere and makes everything feel bigger than real life. The album closes with “You Have To Let Go” which is an 8-minute epilogue in a sense as its a mirror image track of the opener and reprises a lot of instruments and themes from the album.
Mesmera is an album that is all about atmosphere – and crucially not just the atmosphere of the instruments themselves but the ambience of what happens between each chord or note. I feel like this whole album, which is dripping in epic sound production, is an exercise in understanding that you can create the most grande pieces of music by paying meticulous attention to sound design and not throwing a thousand instruments and turning up the volume on them all. Is it as immediate as Lightfields? No – but Mesmera is going for something more emotional. Adam Fielding has done it again – this is electronica with a heart, a soul and a mind. Superb.
Recommended track: Everything Felt New
If you like what I do, and would like to help me make better and more content then please consider supporting me via Patreon. Thank you.
If you have this release, you can comment with your own score below.