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Posted on January 23rd, 2015 (11:00 am) by Casey Bauer

“What can I say to you?”. That's the simple question Pretty Lights-member-turned-solo-artist Michal Menert asks over and over in his single “Your Ghost.” It's a swirling soundscape of a song, filled with whistles, jingles, a grumbling synth, and that same croon of a question, dancing around the idea of confronting a spirit embodying a passed loved one; in this case, Menert's own father. With that knowledge, the song already has a certain weight tied to it, a dichotomy of morose intensity and a distanced perspective on an intimate experience. That is, until you see the video. “Your Ghost” was Menert's first music video ever as a solo artist, and it's a devastatingly beautiful one that demands empathy as it shuffles around your insides and throws them back at you. The narrative follows Menert as he struggles with the loss of his father in different mechanisms, some helpful and some otherwise. The video climaxes around five minutes, where Menert is seen climbing from the torn shambles of a car (the remnants of an accident that really happened), and is offered a ride from a familiar face. In this moment, we're found asking the same question, as if we were in his heart-wrenching position: “What can I say to you? What can I do?”

“Your Ghost” was the first single for Colorado-based artist Michal Menert's latest EP, Elements. The inspiration of this album is obvious: fire, air, water, and earth. Each song represents one of the four elements, with “Your Ghost” signifying “the element of air, and the unseen spirits therein,” while both parts of the “Eventide” tracks representing the “duality of water” as a destructive, but also rejuvenating force. While this concept is a romantic one, it is one that hardly comes across in the music at all. Described as a “turbulent high tide,” “Eventide Pt 1,” has brief ocean noises at the forefront of the song, but the waves die down rather quickly. The result is a track that hardly sounds tumultuous at all, just simply groovy as hell. “Eventide Pt 2” is indeed the musical counterpoint to its first half, more adequately playing the role of a low tide. The flowing nature of the ambient vocals and the way the trumpet and synth wash and bubble over a simple drum track makes the first half of the song a true palate cleanser.

The EP is book-ended by two very different tracks: “Slivers of Light” and “Quiet Earth”. “Slivers of Light” kicks off the EP with warm, rhythmic strums and distorted, ambient vocals. It's then followed by a syncopated synth, sporadic pauses, and quarter-note triplet interruptions that charmingly break up the song unexpectedly. Contrarily, “Quiet Earth” closes out the EP with heavier downbeats spread out through a half-time feel, and a darker soundscape complemented by sporadic strings.

In all, most element aspects of Elements are lost on the listener. Nothing about the music in “Slivers” reminds us of fire or light, and while “Eventide” has the word “tide” in it, it's really just a fancy archaic word simply meaning “evening.” All of that aside, Menert's Elements is a gorgeous, rich, and ethereal piece of work. Sadly, the elements motif, while a pretty idea, is hardly necessary, or at the very least, not executed entirely. But we do appreciate the effort, and more so that Menert takes the time to explain it to us.

Track List
1. Slivers of Light
2. Your Ghost
3. Eventide Pt 1
4. Eventide Pt 2
5. Quiet Earth

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

78 / 100
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