Although it might be straw man argumentation, I’ve begun my thinking about the latest release from gothic composer & recording artist Desar with the thoughts of a music lover bemoaning that nobody is making albums anymore, music just isn’t what it used to be. Often this kind of listener has a certain set of music they stay with and haven’t even looked hard to find the thing they feel missing. That’s fine. There’s no wrong or right way to listen to music. But I do feel they are wrong about the state of new music. But they are also right that music recording has changed. A similar straw man might bemoan technology. They might be convinced that things like Pro Tools have somehow diminished the art form. This argument is the child of thought convinced drum machines and synthesizers would ruin rock n’ roll.
I believe there is more high quality music being made than we will ever get to hear.
I believe music inherently leads to a nostalgic sadness for the way things used to be, but I also believe in the optimism of finding that feeling again, even if you have to work harder to find it.
I believe technology has given the musician more power and freedom to create art, has enabled them to distribute in ways musical legends never imagined, but it has no doubt transformed everything. Radio play, record sales, studios, recording labels, music journalism, music fandom. They’ve all changed. Time hath both given and taken away.
If you listen hard enough, you can still hear it.
If you want to, you can still feel it.
If you have to, you can still make it.
There are people in their houses right now making beautiful art. The way we share it has changed. The beauty has not.
It’s been sixteen years since Desar released the album Beyond the Law. The songs from Into the Sun were written and worked on between 2014 and 2022. That’s a testament to the patience of art. To the long run. It’s also a marking of the new technology. The new album contains ten songs. The genre is goth or dark wave. While I never was completely immersed into that genre, I’ll use as a reference the bands I did listen to that this album reminds me of: The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode. The songs have an eerie tone but also an eerie feeling of timelessness. Part eighties, nineties, part twenty-first century, partly without time. Maybe part of that timelessness comes from releasing new songs that were written and recorded even years earlier. It is both a literal and figurative collage of time.
I can describe it best by the feelings it invokes.
Into the Sun reminds me of my early music listening years. The early MTV years when you would expose yourself to different forms of music partly because MTV was the only choice. Radio, in Iowa at least, was still very focused on a narrow lane of classic rock and contemporary pop. MTV got around the lanes. We’d never hear them on the radio, but we could see the Split Enz, Flock of Seagulls, Devo. It reminds me of that weird album you’re weird friend could only have turned you onto and you loved them for it, both for exposing you to something new and for being the only one who could’ve done that. It reminds me of local Des Moines punk scene. The Hallowmen. The Cursing Birds. Groups that don’t exist anywhere except the memory of those who survived the era.
Into the Sun reminds me of the teenage days when you would listen to everything. You had the patience. You had the awareness that the world in full was way bigger than the world you’ve seen so far. And out of nowhere you would find that one thing. Maybe no one would even show it to you. You’d find it yourself by some form of odd destiny. That one thing that sounded nothing like anything you had heard before, but damn, it had to have been written for you! This was your thing now. This was you.
Into the Sun reminds me of early Pink Floyd. The playful, experimental approach of Syd Barrett but here with compositional sanity.
Into the Sun reminds me of the importance of making art. Of consuming art. Of experiencing. It reminds me to get going before our sun arrives.
Into the Sun can be found on all of the major music streaming spots. Here is a commentary video where Desar deep dives into the album.