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Eternal sea

  1. Eclipse
  2. The morning glow
  3. Equilibrium
  4. Radiant haze
  5. Nautilus
  6. Aurora borealis
  7. Lethe
  8. Sigil
  9. Estuario del río
  10. Aerinite

Behind the poetic pseudonym of Twilight in Versailles stands the musician from California Ryan Moser. Although his project has existed in different forms for eight years, this Eternal sea is only his sophomore album after Capsule (2013).  That was an album closer to post-rock, in which electric guitars had a prominent role when building atmospheric layers. Themes also had a light that is totally absent from Eternal sea.

In its second album, Moser presents a set of themes more pesimistic, darker and perfectly fitting in the drone aesthetics. Synthesizers have taken the place of the guitars in the creation of dense sonic landscapes, with emphasized basses and harmonic elements reduced to the minimum in themes like 'Eclipse' or 'The morning glow', which has an hypnotic cadence and an inspired melody that make it the album's highlight.

It is usual in literary works to use the sea as an allegory for the death. There is also a funerary sense in Eternal sea, almost tragic: a theme like 'Equilibrium' is nothing but a contemporary drone version of a funeral march, and 'Aerinite's coda is a slow adagio that fades into infinite darkness.

And then there is 'Estuario del río'. To confront a piece like this, and listening to it is nothing short of a confrontation, brings questions up, makes you wonder. For instance, is a theme that is 49 minutes long still a theme, or is it more likely an album within an album? How do you listen to a piece of work like that? Is it really meant to be listened to, or is its purpose totally different? Is 'Estuario del río' just music, or an experience to be lived? Maybe it is not enough to hear it: if you try just so, the sound gets lost, vanishes into the continuum of the surrounding reality. But if you let yourself get caught, if you let yourself be carried along by the pads' gravitational field (and I mean it: these pads are so thick that they could have a gravitational field), then time seems to go slower, light seems to disappear and reality is no longer so important. Almost indiscernible patterns start to surface in what seemed totally monolithic before: tiny chord changes, layered sounds coming and leaving like particles. A three-parts structure becomes clear: overwhelming the first, equally thick but much darker the second, equally dark but already weak the third. And it is right when Moser releases some pressure at the end, leaving a certain feeling of calm which, if it didn't exist, would have made the listening experience almost unbearable.

The drone genre is one of the most difficult genres to deal with, for it experiments on the edge of what can be called music. Eternal sea does not run through those limits and it still maintains very enjoyable ambient passages, like the mentioned 'The morning glow'. But it is also good that, with a work like 'Estuario del río', Twilight in Versailles sets out questions through music, and each listener could get their own answers through their own experience.