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Retrospective: Love as a Dark Hallway by the Flashbulb (2011)

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I'm listening to my favorite albums of 2019 right now, and doing a retrospective of them, how they came to me, how I feel about them, what I like about them.

I have listened to this album probably 150 times since 20131. The Flashbulb is an incredibly talented artist, whether he is working solo, with layers of himself, a full orchestra, or making a computer yell. I was introduced to him – and IDM as a genre – through that last one, Red Extensions of Me, at HeatSync Labs. Hell of an album, and I still enjoy it a lot even though I listen to a lot less break-y stuff than I used to. But he's also got a lot of "kinder" music, a little ambient space music, some Compositions for Piano.

Love as a Dark Hallway fits somewhere in the middle of the vaguely ambient<->break shaped slider the Flashbulb's discography has. I think it's nearly perfect, and every time I listen to it I discover something new about it. And every time it lifts my mood through the high point of An Imperfect Song at a Gig That Never Existed, and to a pleasant calmness at the end of the next track and the end of the album. It makes the rest of the day easier, like a shoulder massage or a nice espresso.

It's jazz-forward, and very dense. It's clearly artificial, and paired with the denseness it can be off-putting for a lot of people. But the more you listen to it, the more you learn about it, the more you see the amount of thought and polish that has been put in to each of its layer. The breaks are neither random nor simple, they're rhythmic and interesting. The guitar work is top-notch. It's melodic all the way through. It's something I can give all of my attention in the same way that I can give all of my attention to [USA] and focus on it in a meditative way. I love the bass work in Tres Ebow, I love the cymbals and breaky drums in Pastorial Whiskers. An Imperfect Song at a Gig That Never Existed is my favorite track on this album, if I had to pick one. Everything about this album is coherent.

When I had an active goal of learning LSDJ and making a chiptune album, I thought a good thing to do would be to make a chiptune cover album, I'd love still to do this idea justice some day.

Footnotes:

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I posted an instagram photo the day I interviewed at Storehouse, the first time I listened to Love as a Dark Hallway, by my reckoning: https://www.instagram.com/p/dfEi0ADHRi/

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Ryan Rix is a privacy rights advocate and net-art wannabe. Reach them on the Fediverse as @rrix@cybre.space, twitter as @rrrrrrrix, via email to ryan@whatthefuck.computer or on Facebook or on Matrix as @rrix:whatthefuck.computer.