17 Jan 2021 - Ben
When you feel music washing through you, stroking your eardrums and radiating through you like a heater in a shop doorway on a cold day… that’s the feeling you get from Efflorescence – In Inertia’s debut EP.
Relatively new, In Inertia released a flurry of songs in the second half of 2020, then released this six-track EP – which doesn’t contain any of the already-released songs – in December. The group, originally from Indonesia, but now relocated to Japan, wear their influences on their sleeves.
Drenched in reverb and delay, the guitars move seamlessly from Slowdive-y, layered walls of sound to melodic runs. They employ atmospheric synth drones, giving the proceedings a cinematic feel. The second song on the EP – Finding Your Silver Lining – is a great example. Opening with a single guitar and synth drone, it builds into a wash of sound before deconstructing and reconstructing itself throughout.
The third song on the record – White Lotus – seems to be a seven-minute exercise in channeling Ryuchi Sakamoto through a reverb pedal. Which is a good thing. Like all of the songs, it employs a beautifully choreographed dance of ambient and melodic dynamics – rising and falling like breathing in. Very. Slow. Motion.
With the guitars and synths stealing a lot of the scenes it would be too easy to focus on those, but the drums and bass are flawless throughout this record. Only ever stepping in when needed, they drive the songs forward when progress needs to be made – like that friend who gets you out of the house for a walk after a long week of lockdown. “Get off the couch, you lazy bastard! We’re going to feed the ducks.”
Takao’s Smile – the fourth song on the album – is a great example of this in action. Heavy on the delay and reverb, a lone guitar opens with a pleasant chord progression before being joined by the atmospheric, but incredibly subtle, synth. A couple of bars later, a second guitar joins, tracing an Explosions In The Sky-type melody line with a very polite drum pattern. This carries on evolving and metamorphosing until 3:20, when the drums say, “Come on, lads. Let’s kick out the Jams for a while!” And they do: the Jams are well and truly kicked. When I listen to music I want to feel something. I want to know exactly what the band is trying to convey, not just through the lyrics, but also the tone, volume and emotion. A case in point: The Great Gig In The Sky has absolutely no discernable words whatsoever, but the listener is dragged along by Clare Torry’s wordless vocalizing and Richard Wright’s piano. Post Rock has a similar approach for me. The key is in the pacing, the dynamics, the textures and the emotions behind the songs. In Inertia themselves say on their Bandcamp page for this record, “Efflorescence is the emotional complexity that describes our respect towards memories and upcoming life.”
Granted, across the EP there isn’t a diverse texture in the songs, relying as they do on being soaked in reverb and delay. But where In Inertia excel is in their mastery of dynamics. Bringing the listener up into the crescendos and laying them to rest in the diminuendos. This is the key to making sure that the listener isn’t just a passive consumer, but a passenger in the music.