I was one of those weirdos that pre-ordered the album on CD, and I was punished for it with three days of shipping delays (it was released to all streaming platforms on August 24, 2018). I literally dusted off my external drive and gingerly pushed the tray into place. I dimmed my studio lights and adjusted the trim on my monitors so that my closet door would hum along with the low end. There are few artists capable of writing electronic music albums that deserve this kind of ritualistic listening session, but Andrew Bayer is undeniably one of them.
‘In My Last Life‘ is a deftly crafted story that is haunting and ubiquitous. It’s a story we have all lived in some way or another because it’s about love and loss. The opening track, ‘Tidal Wave,’ speaks to the beginning of this journey, where we have each felt actual tidal waves of emotions. ‘Love You More’ and ‘Open End Resource’ are tracks about being in love and feeling new depths of inner strength.
The writing and vocals from Ane Brun and Alison May are striking and poignant. Somehow, these songs capture both the tenderness and fragility of affection while still emanating the vitality and fortitude that comes with such closeness. ‘Hold on to You’ is an orchestra of harsh, industrial-tinged, and glitchy sounds. Unrelenting, it tells the next part of this journey, where love comes to an end.
The title track takes a new, care-free, and relaxed tone. The musicality is refreshing but juxtaposed to lyrics that wander between regret and hope. ‘Immortal Lover’ is the sparsest arrangement on the album. Here, Alison May delivers heartrending vocals that are nostalgic and bitter. The 7th track on the album, ‘Your Eyes,’ is an example of musical masterwork. Put into context of the other tracks, its an emotional tempest. Ane Brun achieves complete goosebump summoning while straddling an emotional line somewhere between heartbreak and bliss. The final track, ‘End of All Things,’ begins with the largest broken chords in the universe. Their sound reverberates through a cosmic sized room and swirls back around itself in a vast orbiting ascent that climbs and grows in all directions. And then suddenly, in an instant, it shrinks back down and makes way for an intimate, almost unaccompanied Alison May vocal. True to the track name, the lyrics are weighted and full of imagery of passing on. It’s the end of the album and the end of the journey. It solidifies and intensifies a pervasive sense of loss, whether symbolic or actual.
Maybe, that’s where we stop.
Except, not really.
Andrew Bayer went back to remix and meticulously rework each track into another entirely different album. Even with the same track order and the same music at the core, Bayer revisits each song with an ‘In My Next Life‘ treatment. Every track was given a new, more danceable, and more clubby perspective, which breathes new life and fresh ideas into an already impeccable album. ‘In My Next Life’ was released in April, 2019, but it sounds like it’s from the future. Maybe when I’m finally ready for something else, I’ll check out his new EP, ‘Parallels,’ which came out on October 25, 2019.
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