Friday 16 February 2018


The space afforded by this track, the expansiveness of it, how it manages to put you in this swirling realm of love, yet also retain this very intimate feeling, as if your ears are being privately whispered into, is testament to pastel's efforts as a musicmaker. And not only this, but this atmosphere is summoned with great simplicity, a seeming effortless swathe of sound that utilises sparse elements to maximum effect: mainly a simple beat, a bit of soft synth, and voice. The difference between the sense of space and intimacy is best illustrated in this song by the big rush of sound that is the chorus, the only moment where there is any sort of loudness, representing a swell of feeling. Still there is an underlying mist of loneliness here, a distant wind that is like a sadness that cannot be shaken.

But, that said, 'close' is a lovesong, that's for sure (it's dedicated to Valentine's Day, so it'd better be). And as such it's full of lovely moments, small parts like the sudden downturned chord change at 1:15, the constant fluttering heartbeat of the kicks as they propel the song nervously forward, the sparing use of a little soft melody that gently bloops on-and-off in this gorgeous minimalist morsel. Last time we heard from pastel it was a different story: the sandstorm ambient abrasions of 'stammer' from absent, just dust summoned an almost inexpressible sadness and isolation. His vocals were lost in the noise.

Here, however, the vocals are clear, liquid, bravely at the forefront and completely a capella sometimes: long tracts of the vocal begin the unexpected hook, "Do you think about my body? ..." Warm harmonies abound. It's beautifully honest, heart-on-sleeve songwriting sung with caramel smoothness, touching moments treated with gorgeous simplicity – "you held me a little longer than the last time we met" – inspire real images of real romance, and stealing your own heart in the process.

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