Lune – “A Painted Sea”

Lune is a nineteen-year-old experimental musician from Johannesburg (South Africa), who uses his music to explore primarily human emotional complexities through instrumental compositions. His latest EP “Ixtab” is exceptionally fascinating. The music seems to glow with a strange otherworldly luminescence, as Lune weaves his soundscapes through both harmony and dissonance – at once quiet and introspective, and then gritty and confrontational. To be quite honest, I think the good thing about Lune is that he is consistent. He doesn’t have songs that repeat or sound the same, or at least, not on this album.

I think what he does is adhere to a certain theme and then sticks with it throughout a recording, adding a great level of atmosphere and creativity that becomes apparent the more you listen to it. I like that. I like it because it shows me that the artist and composer, knows who he is and he knows the kind of sounds he wants to make.

With an instrumental artist, the onus for success lies solely in the music’s ability to provide an engaging, moving narrative without the safety net of a vocalist’s easily delivered persona. Hence to make an impression, instrumental artists have to challenge themselves to continually progress, uncovering every possible space in which their music can thrive.

On “Ixtab”, Lune proves that he is capable of doing just that. From when he opens the set with “Apocrypha”, it becomes clear that he is not aiming to make pretty electronic noises, but is rather in pursuit of a theme. “Apocrypha” forges a mysterious and esoteric motif that is at times ominous and haunting, with a fine line of spirituality cutting down the middle.

“Child of Hveðrungr” aerates and deflates with its sonic allusions to Nordic mythology, as a bed of warm pads evolves and grows, thrusting its accumulated energy against the elusive percussion. It’s moments like these, when Lune stretches himself between creating atmosphere and building rhythm that are the most satisfying.

With “Chthonic Teleology”, Lune delves deep into the crevasses of the speculative philosophical spheres of our existence. The main motif is constantly abrasive, like a drill boring a hole into the dark earth. “IZFT” continues in a similar incessant granulating tone, steadily adding percussion and rhythm to the equation.

“Black Fucking Carbon” seems to inhabit its own musical microcosm, and is more futuristic sounding in respect to the other 4 tracks. As musicians, we’re used to thinking in terms of parameters like pitch, rhythm, timbre, and so on, but any time you open up a waveform editor it becomes clear that sound can also be expressed as a strictly two-dimensional medium.

Here Lune seems to be engaging fractals of sound, or seemingly never-ending patterns, which paint a picture of disquieting anxiety. So in summation, if you come to “Ixtab” searching for decorative electronic ditties, you will be disappointed.

However if you’re looking for instrumental music that is challenging, unconventional,  and requires more time to unpack and fully comprehend, Lune may just be the artist you need to discover.


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