Somewhere between Portishead’s Dummy and Mazzy Star’s So Tonight That I Might See belongs Stop Suffering, the 2015 minimal darkwave EP by Camella Lobo’s solo project Tropic of Cancer. Opening track and album namesake Stop Suffering moves with such elegance as to make a ‘liquid’ analogy tedious. Given the gift of synthetic sounds, this album is able to rival the airy attributes of Art Blakey’s Drum Thunder Suite. Tropic of Cancer managers to smother any desire the listener may have for things to be faster. Like fractal patterns in nature, everything is set just-so.
I Woke Up And The Storm Was Over begins to take things slower. The album itself is sparse for percussion. Light drum machine kicks cloaked in reverb, machine cowbell and toms lightly blip in and out. Lobo manipulates the airspace with a distanced Morricone-styled guitar, acting more as a slipstream in the cold, windy climate cast upon the listener.
Peers of Tropic of Cancer tend to fall short by checking out of the artistic process mid-way through, almost as if they decided there was nothing more they could do with the long swaths of time between notes. Crafting and tailoring each note’s placement and timbre, Lobo is able to flood the space with intense emotion. Fortified, the album carries the listener from take off to landing without ever dropping us.
While many musicians treat it as the confines of genre, choosing tempo is an important step in sculpting the work you wish to create. Much like types of wood or stone, what attributes does it bring? What caveats come with it? What is enhanced and what is more likely to be overlooked? Some don’t consider the importance of their decisions, instead leaving it to the guiding hand of the universe. When tempo, timbre, and the like are treated as inconsequential genre conventions, a musician rolls the dice with every release they put out.
Stop Suffering is a cultural payoff of the mental and artistic labor that we all benefit from.
For fans of: Mazzy Star, Slowdive, Portishead