Dave Ryan is Dempefka, a sound artist based in Brisbane who also mixes live shows at the Waiting Room and teaches at the Browning Street Studios. His previous release was 2010’s Have I Forgotten You?. Dempefka’s latest release, Some Time Past, is touted as an exploration of sound through both texture and instrumentation.
From my personal and somewhat limited interpretative abilities as a layman’s reviewer, Some Time Past is perfect for after-work or lazy Sunday afternoons, when one can leave all the bustle of everything behind and step into layers of relaxing tones. This spell is expertly cast by the first seven tracks, but then the album becomes a bit problematic in terms of the sudden change it makes, and how I can interpret the artist’s justification for this change.
The last three tracks are peculiar in terms of the album’s overall arrangement, breaking continuity. ‘And Couldn’t Move At Times’ serves to juxtapose the elements that came before and is a short, rigid track of searing tonal resonance. ‘There’s A Reason To Do This’ is the weakest on the album and doesn’t quite fit the bill, as its synthetic nature sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the more organic sounds of all the other compositions. The title track picks up the original formula in a more uplifting and solid manner compared to the ethereal nature of the former songs, which I didn’t think was really effective, given the aesthetics of the two tracks beforehand. Initially, I thought Dempefka needed some sort of overall compositional reason to reflect his artistic rationale for their placement. But on further reflection, I reasoned that one might interpret this objective structure change to infer a shattering of a meditative trance, as it jars the listener back into the real world and clothes it with a fleshier version of Some Time Past‘s magic.
It may be argued whether or not there are mistakes in overall structural composition or if it holds any greater narrative structure, and also if there’s anything really new offered in terms of musical food for thought. Despite this, Dempefka delivers excellence with all of his tracks, offering sublime listening for any listener wishing to retreat into a instrumentative soundscape.