Review: Dreamend – Dreamend

After a six year hiatus, Dreamend graces expectant listeners with a plethora of extensively experimental tracks with its eponymous album.

The solo creation of Ryan Graveface, Dreamend thrives on the alternative, the unrestricted, and – now – the experimental. From the project’s inception, Graveface has created music which reputedly ‘bounced from post-rock, to shoegaze, to dark dreamy-pop’.

Thanks  to the uncategorised nature of his previous releases,  the artist has established the ultimate freedom to experiment and create an array of unique and evocative tracks so diverse, it will no doubt entice  a wide range of new listeners.

His latest musical creation is no different. Without a title, the ten track album encapsulates the major life change that the artist behind the project has faced over the past few years. Having been diagnosed with a life altering condition that reduces hearing capacity, Graveface learned – with intense dedication and passion – to create music that adheres to his own listening abilities, inviting listeners to explore his inner world. His music attests his refusal to allow his diagnosis to restrict him, and instead illuminates how his experiences inspire his art.

Initial track “Intro” is remarkably frank in its explanation of the meaning behind the entire album. Purely instrumental, it incorporates synthesisers and distortion, in addition to tuneful run ups, to accompany the elongated notes in the background, after opening with a slow tempo melody.  

Symbolically, the distortion indicates a reference to the artist’s own hearing, encouraging listeners to hear and appreciate music from his perspective. Various transitions emerge alongside myriad tiers of sounds and melodies to create a thought-provoking track that celebrates the irrefutably unifying power of music.

Differing from its predecessor, “A Year And A Day” includes lyrics, provided here by Alexandra Morte from Night School, and Phaedra & Elsa from The Casket Girls. As before, Graveface develops his track from a simple melody, on which he builds infectious instrumental layers with an interlacing of sugary soft vocals.

With vocals that differ entirely from the distortion recurring throughout the rest of the sequence, the track injects a more ambient element into the album. Such a drastic detour from the overarching style of the project mirrors the previous work of Dreamend, where songs of various genres collocate to convey a vast musical spread.

What is most notable about the piece, however, is that it actually appears unfinished, something that Graveface has himself commented on, expressing that the songs do not wrap themselves up in a traditional sense, yet ‘…each song has just enough notes to trick the ear into thinking it’s a complete song.The artist therefore gives us the subconscious task of completing the song themselves, a decision that fortifies the relationship between listener and music even more intensely.

Though this album might lack an imaginative title, it is certainly not to be overlooked – its namelessness, in fact, illustrates its mystery. Dreamend once again presents listeners with a ten track, in depth tour of musical creativity.

Emma Humphrey

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