|Take Its Coral Hand
|(Holy God) Daylight Miner
|Canon (First Exhalation)
The more you recall a particular memory, the more it distorts and plays on your sense of narrative continuity. In this way, the vividly textured layers of Secret Recess – the debut Dauw LP from Luke Entelis aka Viul – comprise a sacred experience that leaves a unique emotional residue with each listen. Some pieces feature delicate melodies curling over themselves, while others offer gradually evolving loops underpinned by subtle guitar plucking, distant found sounds and obscured voices at half-speed. All are crafted meticulously with analogue sources and sifted through soft-edged tape processes that reward a dedicated headphone session, conjuring the solitary space promised in the album’s title.
From a home studio replete with analog synthesizers, guitars, effects and tape machines, Secret Recess emerged slowly across an era when most of us turned inward by necessity, drawing upon a library’s worth of sketches, recombinations and lightning strikes. Entelis also cites in particular a road trip to the national parks of the southwestern US that significantly informed the hazy, spacious atmospheres of the work that followed; by his account, “the desert wind was too intense for field recording,” but you can still feel it drifting across compositions like “Taurum” and “Eighties”. Such a union of urban huddle and open-sky expanse allows the album to take on new colours anywhere it’s heard.
Whether fully formed in one brief spell or developed over months of revisitation and refinement, each facet of the Viul catalogue conveys a rare, sweet melancholy pulled from thoughtful circuitry and the core artistic impulse to simply document the ephemeral – those moments in existence that you have to accept losing, but which replay endlessly once the day unravels.
“In the depths of the recording process I often feel simultaneously in touch with past and future versions of myself, which is strange, but good, I think.” (Viul)
Viul has been the primary project of Brooklyn’s Luke Entelis for nearly twenty years, but only in the last half-dozen has it come to fruition beyond the ears of friends and family. The albums Bright Decline (Disques d’Honoré, 2019) and Outside the Dream World (Past Inside the Present, 2019) beautifully justified this patient arc, and the collaboration Konec with Benoît Pioulard (A Strangely Isolated Place, 2022) entwined the two artists’ sensibilities into one of the most notable ambient/experimental collections of the year.