How many albums have you heard where you start listening to the first track and think: “It’s going to be a good album”? Probably a few, right? But let me ask you this – how many albums have you heard where you listen to the first track and think: “It’s going to be a good day”? I would guess not that many. But that’s exactly how the opening track “Just A Hand” on the new Blue Foundation album made me feel. Which is strange, since I wouldn’t say that the overall mood of the record is all rainbows and unicorns. I guess it’s this calm quiet beauty, effortless power that takes you under its wing right from the start saying “Everything is going to be alright…” I have no hesitation classifying this release as trip-hop, even though technicalities suggest otherwise – there’s no “hippity-hop”, no scratching, no modified samples. Blue Foundation managed to do what many other projects tried before with various rates of success (GusGus comes to mind) – to blend together the slowly progressing dark intensity of trip-hop with the charming tenderness of indie-pop. They also managed to do another thing really well that I have a personal issue with – making alternating male/female vocals work throughout the release without damaging the integrity of the album. Sara Savery provides absolutely gorgeous vocal parts on several tracks that to me became highlights of the record, but they aren’t sticking out, they just add another layer of beauty to the picture, like moonlight reflecting in dark waters. And like dark waters In My Mind I Am Free is a very alive and ever-changing entity, with lots of stuff going on every second, even if most of that movement is hidden from the naked eye. You really need to submerge yourself into the quiet depths of this record to be able to fully appreciate all of its elements, but it may as well be enjoyed from the “outside” if you are just looking for a pleasant listening experience. If you like surprises as much as I do, In My Mind I Am Free has plenty of those, and the fact that aren’t obvious makes the discovery even more satisfying. Like the organ on “Dressed In Black” or “Fundamental”, – or any other track for that matter, – or strings, or a siren, or echoing vocals, – everything interwoven beautifully and thoughtfully, set up to consume you entirely if you let it to do so, which you definitely should. The album (and Blue Foundation) isn’t trying to break any new grounds, set new standards or follow new trends – and it’s the confidence that makes it so good. Like the dark water under the moonlight it doesn’t have to prove anything, it’s just there, giving its beauty to everyone who wants (and is able) to appreciate it.
R.I.Y.L. GusGus – This Is Normal, Zero 7, dreaming with your eyes closed
personal favs: “Lost” (feat. Sara Savery), “Dressed In Black” (feat. Sara Savery), “Needles”