Lost in Stars
DARK SKY COVENANT RECORDS SET TO RELEASE
LOST IN STARS' FABULA NOVEMBER 16TH.
Lost in Stars is the musical moniker of downtown-LA based electronic composer and poet Dylan Willoughby. His latest album, Fabula, is the product of an emotional journey battling severe disabilities and depression, and finding solace and redemption in music. Willoughby is not averse to delving into the shadows at times, but as Lost in Stars, he has always emphasized the lights along the way.
For this album, Lost in Stars embraced a more minimal production with sparser beats and starker instrumentation. A landscape emerged of fundamental elements - doubt, loss, belief, faith, buried lights, unearthed darkness, defeat, struggle, transformations, reversals, truths, lingering questions. A twelfth century mystic abbess, Hildegard, became an improbable influence and guiding light. Plagued by chronic illness, she experienced majestic visions and composed ethereal music against all odds, despite of and perhaps in part due to her experience of debilitating health issues. John Cage’s tinkling on the toy piano and triphop and trap rhythms also influenced the composition.
Willloughby turned away from the choreographies of despair and orchestras of trauma, which only close in on themselves. Emphasis on the bass helped open up the music. Toggling between chill-out and all-out dance, Fabula shows music’s power to heal and bring joy.
The album begins with an instrumental track “Wand” with echoes, literally, from Lost in Stars’ 1989 tune “Growing Circles.” The song harkens back to first inspirations amid a synthscape that is revelatory and transformative. NYLON called the track “one hell of a stunner . . . a blissed-out electronic delight,” while XLR8R described the song as “a stunning, synth heavy cut full of deeply woven emotion.”
“Faultlines” is a dancier number, with an infectious bass line accompanied by toy instruments, a cheeky horn, and a variation on old school scratching. “Entre Luces” is one of the album’s darkest moments, with only minimal light to guide you through the cold winds and icy hip-hop beats.
Meanwhile, in “Hush & Hum,” the mood brightens with glitched trumpets, toy pianos and toy xylophones. A return to the whimsy of childhood and how we made music as kids. The lead single “Feel the Glow,” featuring vocals by The Spirit, confronts the surreal world of depression and feelings of anhedonia, the inability to find pleasure or joy. The chorus offers a sharp turn, trying to find comfort in the glow of others surrounding us. The song was inspired by the Chinese artist Ren Hang, who sadly died last year.
“Fabula” is a soothing companion piece to “Wand,” a contemplation of life after a long rain and the scent of bittersweet beauty. For the song, Willoughby imagined uncovering a buried piano and bringing it back to life. “DON’T YA!” returns to the dance, with its call and response verses and chorus and funky basslines.
Fabula concludes with “Walk in The Light While Ye Still Have Light,” an admonition and a groove, punctuated with pizzicato strings and conga drums. Walk in The Light . . .
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