Creative composer and sound artist Robert Dilemma openly indulges in self-defined guilty pleasures, for this extensive and uniquely eclectic new project The Soft Parts.
From the intensely cinematic, immersive and moving allure, the listener is all at once gripped by the vast embrace of this downpour of synths and subtle strings, and lightly guided by the seemingly meandering, unpredictable melody intertwined amidst it.
It’s a powerful, enchanting hit of escapism, which jumps at the chance to connect with and engage with the listener. However, to presume or attempt to expect what may follow would be a bold mistake, as the retro gamer-rhythm and fuzz of a colourful, somewhat bouncy tout va bien pours through to complete redirect things.
Seven instrumental compositions in full, each one adapting some new flavour or genre appeal – as per Dilemma’s own uninhibited musical preference catalogue. From an artistic perspective, there’s plenty to get lost within, and in terms of skillful production and design, the sound is faultless – hugely effective and enjoyable at volume; not least of all when the fullness and multi-layered peak of each track takes hold.
Consider the exotic and bass-thick yet versatile in the swim. At over ten minutes in length, this one manages to deliver a sense of evolution and increasing energy throughout, whilst maintaining a select few defiant threads of unmistakable identity.
We’re aptly taken by the hand for The Soft Parts, led through a myriad of moments, some calm and caressing, others energetic and uplifting. The contrast allows each to work all the more constructively. For example, the likes of a more minimalist and dreamy danae promises a mighty degree of peacefulness and warmth thanks to its juxtaposition with what came before.
“In a way, I would characterize myself more like someone who is making paintings of music, or as a kind of cinematic director of sounds.” – Robert Dilemma.
Notably a passion project and encapsulating that quality and intention devotedly throughout, The Soft Parts stands tall for its authenticity and art, connecting for both the way it provokes a certain mood and manner of thinking, at the same time as introducing the power of instrumental music as a form of interpretive story-telling. To each their own experience, though likely always relating to the self and to intimacy, perhaps, given the ideas incited by the title and artwork.
Del Roma unites all of the above traits once again, but supports it with a simple pairing of jazz piano and bass, a nostalgic lounge-music vibe, to ultimately feel both soothing and intriguing, even mysterious, as it progresses.
For the penultimate journey, a creative play on Miles Davis’ work Birth Of The Cool – Death of the Cool presents an easy bass repeat and flashes of colour and melodic variation in the distance. The energy pans in and out, the volume and detail washing over like waves, and meanwhile the beat goes on.
Then for the closer, the near fifteen-minute lethe presents something entirely of its own. Unsettling and eerie to begin with, spacious and again minimalist, with a clear sense of rising anticipation or intrigue, the piece finds its groove amidst both the haunting and the comforting realms of audio design. It’s a little like being held by someone, but not knowing who. In translation, thoughts of oblivion and forgetfulness (the ‘pool of forgetting’), actually seem relevant to that feeling, and yet, as the composition continues, with both familiarity and subtle alteration, the mind again wanders to realms deeply personal and unique to the individual listener.
Appearing as both laid-back or carefree and utterly intentional in its humanity and heart, The Soft Parts utilises experimental and renowned aspects of production alike, to capture the affection of audiences across the board. There’s a strong potential for any of these to become the audio accompaniment to some visual scene or show, but at the same time, the completed album can more than fill out that role itself; depending on how absorbed within it you’re willing to become.
Grab the album The Soft Parts via Bandcamp.