Yann Novak reveals an inner self of dark inquietude.
The work we are presented with here centres around the problematic, contradictory and perceived nature of time and memory.
New synthesis which poses the question: how much do we really know?
'The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past' is the latest album by Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist and composer Yann Novak, and his second for Touch. It considers the relationships between memory, time, and context through four vibrantly constructed tracks that push Novak’s work in a new direction while simultaneously exploring his sonic past. 'The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past' is composed as a quadriptych – a single gesture broken into four parts – that meditates on the inevitable progression of time, our relationship to the past, and our distortion of the past through the imperfections of memory.
The album’s conceptual roots stem from 'The Archaic Revival' by American ethnobotanist and psychonaut Terence McKenna. In it, McKenna theorizes that when a culture becomes dysfunctional it attempts to revert back to a saner moment in its own history. He suggested that abstract expressionism, body piercing and tattooing, psychedelic drug use, sexual permissiveness, and rave culture were proof of this default to a more primal time. The text’s idealism was influential to Novak in the ‘90s, but today the theory bears a darkly-veiled resemblance to the rise of nostalgia-driven nationalism. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the signifiers of a ‘better time’ - McKenna’s idea highlights our propensity for selective memory, seeing history through the lens of memory instead of fact. On 'The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past' Novak looked back at his own older works through this lens as inspiration.
“For this album I was interested in expanding into a more emotive compositional style and palette. In doing so, I was reminded that this was territory I had covered early on in my career — the whole process became a way to reconnect with my own past and history.”
The Album’s four tracks dynamically shift and surge, where time is rendered as material and momentum compels it into movement. Subtle distortion throughout the album ties the tracks together and echoes techniques explored in Novak’s 'Meadowsweet' (Dragon’s Eye, 2006). Tension gives way to a halcyon vision of place in “Radical Transparency,” immediately followed by the austere swells of “The Inertia of Time,” a piece that captures the twin impulse of generating optimistic beauty in harshly muted tones. Both tracks introduce subtle bass swells and stabs reminiscent of 'In Residence' (Dragon’s Eye, 2008). From there, the album grows darker with “Casting Ourselves Back into the Past,” and “Nothing Ever Transcends its Immediate Environment,” two icier tracks that preserve the album’s core: a layer of something long since passed that locks us into the very moment we inhabit. The latter introduces a processed vocal sample of Geneva Skeen, similar to Novak’s collaborative work with Marc Manning on 'Pairings' (Dragon’s Eye, 2007). The album is a study in perception and alteration, manipulation and awareness, effectively capturing Novak’s command of emotional texturing.
released February 23, 2018
All tracks composed and recorded by Yann Novak in Los Angeles 2017.
Vocal sample on Track 4 by Geneva Skeen.
Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd.
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft.
Mastered by Lawrence English at 158.
Yann Novak is an interdisciplinary artist and composer based in Los Angeles. His work is guided by his unique perspective as
a queer autodidact. Informed by his partial color blindness and dyslexia, Novak uses sound and light to explore how these intangible materials can act as catalysts to focus our awareness on our own direct experience....more
supported by 15 fans who also own “The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past”
I first listened through this a couple years ago, and I don't know why I hadn't bought it until now. Regardless, I think everyone should listen through this in its entirety at least once, the best way I can describe it is beautifully haunting. I'm sure my favorite track will keep changing forever, too. sethgibbs
supported by 13 fans who also own “The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past”
Lovely and spacious sounds balanced with a disquieting atmosphere. An excellent suite that uses ambient music not just to calm the listener, but to transport them into an epic, sweeping storm. Alec L. Critten