Single Review: Paul K – ‘Ephemera’.

Last year’s Reconstructed Memories was album of ambient grandeur and space that lived between image and feeling. All the pictures and scenes that gather dust and pile up ‘til they resurface at some strange time later, with connections that twist over time, their new re-arrangements and changes in meaning spawned an album of almost free-form movements.  

And while this is not Paul K’s first single since, it’s the third building up to ‘Anandamide‘, it’s a fine place to draw links between them. The focus may have switched, the arrangements more lucid, but as music (or writing or any art) can, it invokes what the last album worked for.

Once again it’s the space that is central, the gaps between sparse notes and chords. Its piano led structure sits as thin as it can beneath looped wisps of warm electronica. All these sounds are precise and precisely mapped out, they give room to attach our own feelings. If there’s a secret equation of tone Vs density over note Vs frequency that allows us to wander between them, then Kirkpatrick has studied this closely.

Every tone could be happy or sad, could be the warmth or the chill of nostalgia. While the song title guides us towards lost once-loved objects, it’s up to us how we view that attachment. We can miss with a fondness or not, are we glad to have had or just sorry it’s gone? Our response might just shift with each listen.

In the video that goes with the single, a child plays in the wrecks of burnt rusted cars that litter a path through a woodland. And more than the album that focussed on memories, it’s these scenes that brought up that connection. That could have been me knocking rust of old doors in a stretch of South Wales woods and forest.

And now, as I listen, and thumb through a dictionary and search Google for words that better define ‘happy-sad’, I come across the Portuguese ‘Saudade’…an untranslatable word that ties up nostalgia with warmth and a missing that best fits this single’s description.

Having heard the new album, out on November 20th, Paul’s restrained stripped down focus wins over. Without trying to push or guide a connection, we’re more wanting and able to make one.