The first long play takes a signification place in every artist’s discography. Birds ov Paradise, a project by David Sabel, already presented a highly memorable work on Hypnus Records with a 3-parts EP, Bayou, Savannah and Plateau, released in full moons in a row in fall 2018, followed by Till dig in 2020. These EPs fully deserve a detailed familiarisation and their own review. However, today we are witnessing the continuation of the artist’s successful path in the label.
“Memorial” is Birds ov Paradise’s very first album, produced in the context of the 2020 COVID pandemic crisis and dedicated to the people cherished by the artist. Each individual’s first name comes as the title of a track, which is not only very original but which also says something about the caring personality of Sabel, and potentially justifies the positive colourful sound he accustoms us to with deep storytelling.
A “memorial” relates to the will to “immortalise in memory”, to pay tribute and perpetuate in mind. Each track, each name, is set to be part of a musical monument. Ultimately, we cannot help but try to guess who are these important names related to: are they unknown – obviously close – relatives of Sabel and/or artists that we follow? Is for instance “Michel” Hypnus label founder “Michel Iseneld” AKA Ntogn, and “Ale” a nickname of “Alessandro Barchitta” AKA Feral? In the end, what really matters is the understanding of how personal the release is for the Swedish artist.
On the surface, “Memorial” assigns one sonic story per person, with the tracks being all consistent with each other under the prism of light and luminous feel. The album opens up with an immersive intro, “Amanda”, which reshapes into dub flavours in the second track “Anton”. The latter comes also with interesting vocal manipulations at 4’27, already heard in Sabel’s 2018 Memoir mix, in an unreleased track called “Burundi”. The sample might have ended up in “Anton” for its warm flavour.
While experiencing the LP’s journey, the sound progresses into deeper and trippier vibes, conjuring up instinctive associations with the urban ecosystem; in line with Hypnus’ artistic signature in terms of complexity and tribalism – here in an urban context, matching with the pandemic topic.
The journey comes as a single breath and is perfectly tailored to be mixed: a mix is actually available on the vinyl edition, which doesn’t contain the individual tracks, but rather offers to the listener a continuous immersion into Sabel’s idyllic garden.
It’s through this “continuous immersion” that we have been able to move from the surface to deeper considerations: we are happy to have a complete LP from Birds ov Paradise, because if it was for him an opportunity to cover a whole list of portrayals, it gave us an inspiring message and maybe a better understanding of his artistic approach.
We are sometimes wondering why Birds ov Paradise plays a luminous card in his work always, which is particularly obvious in his last Memoir mix for instance: the lack of tension in most of his music could be seen as an imbalance, resulting in making the tracks “globally too sweet” and therefore not easy to digest. That’s however not what happens. On one side, the listener is quickly propelled into a contemplative state and stays alert in front of the numerous details, like a visitor in a museum. On another side, a transcendental message emerges from the music: a spiritual call for peace, for love, arising from the names in the titles and from the shining luminosity coming out of the dubby tracks.
“Memorial” inspires the creation of a positive mental refugee during difficult times, for us, for the artist and his relatives also – certainly – and comes as a potential message to eradicate our dark instincts, at least during the listening time.
WRITING BY: VADIM UKHANOV AND CEDRIC FINKBEINER | 24 JANUARY 2022