Since he first emerged in 2009 with his debut release ‘Wait Here With Me’, Durham, UK-based electronic musician David Newlyn has released a dizzying number of albums on numerous different labels. Indeed, this latest album ‘Collected Fictions’, his third release on Greek label Sound In Silence following 2014’s ‘Good Luck (Enigma)’ represents just one of three records that Newlyn’s released so far during 2018.
There’s a somewhat eclectic nature to the eight tracks collected here, which occasionally makes ‘Collected Fictions’ feel more like a mixtape. After emerging from an opening segue that sees cassette-recorded piano keys blurring and wavering through a fog of tape delay, ‘Ghost-Out’ takes things off on a post-rock wander that’s coloured with a hint of jazz as mirage-like piano keys tinkle and guitar bends ring out against brittle-sounding programmed beats and wavering layers of reverb.
While it’s certainly captivating, there’s the occasional sense that things are idling rather than really heading in any specific direction. Indeed, some of the strongest moments arrive here when Newlyn discards the beats and melodies entirely, as in the case of ‘Hymn To Bleachgreen’, which reaches out into six and a half minutes of spiralling drone-based ambience that feels like a soothing sonic balm, whilst also hinting towards the likes of Eluvium and Benoit Pioulard.
Elsewhere, ‘Travelling For A Living’ places snapping electro rhythms against phased analogue synth chords, resulting in a motorik-flavoured wander through glossy surface textures, before ‘Close Again’ veers closer towards IDM territory, as DSP-contorted breakbeats flicker against a wavering backdrop of blurred out ambient melodies. While there’s no doubting the eclectic nature of Newlyn’s approach, it’s these constant shifts between styles that often make it hard to discern this album’s true identity.