In the immediate future, nostalgia resides. It’s our future in retrospect, almost concrete but still exotic enough for uncertainty to remain. It’s here where Emmett Feldman’s Suryummy project lives, a musical construct that retrofits the future with a sound from an intangible past, intangible because it’s never existed. Surryummy occupies a surrealist paradise in a parallel dimension where synthetic atmospheres and electronic voices dwell. Combining beatific melodic arrangements with wispy textures the project has been realised in two full albums, each accompanied by its own visual aesthetic with Feldman’s artistic eye as protractor.
When I interviewed Feldman in 2016, I had found an artist that operates in more than one dimension, with everything from the realities of overconsumption to visual concepts all informing his music as Suryummy. A tidal wave of subconscious and conscious thought pulls at his work from every direction, informing a playful, innocent musical execution that bears an incredible artistic weight just beneath the surface. Seriously fun music is how I described it then and in his latest work, Photon Slobber I find that it has has not dissipated in the least.
At the superficial level the visual aspect is tantamount to the many dimensions on which Suryummy operates and from the album art to titles like Hot Mountain Fuzz and Working in a Diamond Mind we find persuasive imagery fortifying the musical expression. Hot Mountain Fuzz oozes through molten bass frequencies while Working in a Diamond Mind sparkles and glistens in the uppermost frequencies. For the first time, since our interview we see a more direct and literal correlation between the music and Feldman’s subject matter, and it opens up a much bigger world with a panoramic view into the artist’s working mind.
It does little to distract from the immediacy and the elegance of the music, which in the case of Suryummy has always stayed its course and held its own in the continuously changing tide of musical trends. As the third installment of the Suryummy project, Photon Slobber cements what was first established in Prismatic Escalator and where many artists might adapt to the world around them, Feldman has remained resolute in his sound and as a result it has only strengthened and refined the Suryummy sonic landscape on this latest album.
There’s a playfulness in the frenzied of atmosphere scattered around simple synthetic riffs that repeat, stoically anchoring dense arrangements around a singular thread that the listener instinctively locks on to. Where Suryummy might favour an experimental disposition in the musical extremities that inform the textural elements of his music, there’s always some intuitive hook or corporeal repetitive rhythm that indulges the trivial as a lure for the layman to enter Suryummy’s extensive, surreal world. These unassuming moments act as peephole views into the vast expanse of the cognitive universe that lies beyond them, where the superficial dissipates into a cloud of complexity.
It is indeed Feldman’s visual work that we can draw much of our conclusions form when listening to the music of Suryummy and through the course of his last two albums, the visual aspects of the project have become inextricably entangled in the music. The album teaser is a collage of something synthetic, put close enough to something tangible that it begs further investigation. Much like the music these visuals play on the very same idea of this tangible, yet impossible immediate future and while Photon Slobber might come to a natural conclusion, it feels that there is much more left to uncover than what’s been said… so I cue Vapor Navigator again and revel at each new element I uncover as the album runs its course again.
* Read an Interview with Surryummy here.