August 16, 2016

LP: Amber Arcades - Fading Lines

Go exploring with Amber Arcades' Fading Lines.

This past July, I celebrated my one year anniversary with New York City. I talk about my relationship with the city like a good-bad boyfriend. He’s distant, he’s cold, he makes you cry once a week, but every now and then he sweeps you off your feet so you linger around waiting for the next perfect moment. Plus, you live together and all your shit is there and finding a new place is such a headache. That being said, I’ve felt A LOT of feelings this year and I’m still not sure how to describe it, so right now we’re a solid “it’s complicated” Facebook status. Amber Arcades' Fading Lines takes us through a similar journey of fleeting emotional and visceral states of being. It fluctuates between euphoria and melancholy, calm and unease, resonating with the upside down person that lives inside me.

Released under the nom de band Amber Arcades, Dutch artist Annelotte de Graaf put out Fading Lines earlier this summer and it begs to be revisited time and time again. De Graaf describes the process of creating her album as serendipitous; from her ability to self-fund her album, to being signed by Heavenly Recordings and produced by Ben Greenberg. With the help of Greenberg, de Graaf was able to enlist her backing band of Kevin Morby, Quilt's Shane Butler and Keven Lareau, and Real Estate's Jackson Pollis. The album is comprised of a variety of textures that organically come together with the help of de Graaf’s airy vocals and poppy guitar. The resulting atmospheric tone is idyllic, coinciding with de Graaf’s own sense idealism that is also firmly planted in reality. Prior to writing Fading Lines, she was an aide at the UN’s international war crimes tribunal and now works in the Netherlands for immigration services, helping Syrian Refugees. She describes herself as a seeker, with a desire to understand, adapt, and to make sense of the senseless that is constant in both areas of her work. It’s something listeners can sense through the changing moods and explorative tones present throughout the album.

Amber Arcades plunges us into the album with the apropos first track titled “Come With Me.” The song feels like driving on a cool day with all the windows down, right before the inevitable crash. “Constant’s Dreams” is that come down, stripped of all the excess and leaving us with just de Graaf's soothing voice and her dreamy guitar. The title track, “Fading Lines”, and “Perpetuum Mobile” continue introducing new sounds and changing the tempo, keeping an element of surprise throughout. The most ambitious song on the album, “Turning Light,” has an electro-psychedelic component that underscores de Graaf’s wide-ranging abilities. Full of hi-hats and snare drum beats, combined with swirling synth sounds, “Turning Light” is the song that forces you to get up and dance around like you're Robyn. The album concludes with the shimmering, and perpetually dreamy “White Fuzz.” Closing with seemingly the most heartfelt song, de Graaf sweetly asks us, "If only we could stay the same”. As I sift through the emotional and physical reactions to my unsteady relationship to my environment, I recall the final lines of Fading Lines: "I look around, nothing's what it seems / Can't tell the worst from the best in me / These fading lines are all I see / Now I understand, it all shines brightest at the end."


Listen to Amber Arcades on soundcloud.

Carolina Delgado is an over-sharer and bad whisperer whose primary love language is physical touch. She resides in Margaritaville and is in a long-term relationship with Aubrey Graham. However, her relationship with reality is tenuous at best. She dreams of a day when guac isn’t extra.