“Everlasting Joy” begins the journey — striding at 96 bpm and with a bass that’s fatter than funk normally allows.
Silent Cities took two years to mix and arrange — two years wandering through the sometimes desolate urban traum-city of Berlin in lockdown. The album flows through everything you think of when you imagine the Levon Vincent discography — from overwrought synth ODs on “Sunrise” to contemplative Vangelis-like soundtracks for imaginary movies on “Gattaca,” popping electro pumpers and unwound bass meltdowns. The title track is a heavenly diversion — more than ten minutes long, becoming progressively unmoored from the earth and floating in the haze like a hallucination of Tangerine Dream.
Writing and producing Silent Cities was “both a struggle during some points and overall a pleasure,” Vincent tells 5 Mag. “And a very good feeling of resolution at the end of the journey. I learned a lot through experimentation, it wasn’t making something with a purpose like dancing and raising energy levels, it was trying to figure out how to make something listenable without being academic or uptight about it.”
Silent Cities in format can be found somewhere between an artist album and a mixtape, which brings to mind if the album could be — or should be — performed live. “I consider DJing to be the live performance, I feel like I was born a DJ and that’s what I’m still striving to perfect,” Vincent says. “That said, I would welcome the chance to perform under the guise of ‘Silent Cities’ in which I could play at all the different tempos that make up this project. It would be great if it adds to my career as a touring nightclub DJ, if it enhanced my career somehow as a DJ.”
There’s always something more to a Levon Vincent record than beats, tracklistings, album credits and song durations. There’s something else — the sinews of emotion that holds it together (especially true for his 2017 album For Paris, which was largely given away for free). Silent Cities bobs above the horizon, an oasis or a floating ark in which he stashes pairs everything beautiful and worth preserving to survive a silent deluge but also saves himself.
Silent Cities is out now from Vincent’s Novel Sound, as a limited edition cassette tape and presumably unlimited digital download on Bandcamp.
Levon Vincent photo by Novel Sound