Review: Former Selves — ‘The Heart Wants’

Paul Skomsvold records under the guise Former Selves. His output tips towards innumerable. The Heart Wants, his newest cassette (out later this month on the impeccable Geology Records) is a flawless starting place into the Former Selves wistful catalog.

The Heart Wants is a journey through space and time, body and mind. The incredibly lonely opener, “The Heart Wants,” could easily carve a place in your early morning routine. The suspended drones are warm like the bathwater you sprinkle over your newborn, yet foreboding like a blackened sky. Chorale and completely meditative in muscle, “The Heart Wants” is achingly reflective. Few deep listening pieces can hold and give such intense focus without being pushy. At the halfway point, Skomsvold reveals a holy moment of clarity. The expanse of space is felt while keys are gently dabbled. The echoes get thicker and the static churns while the spirit exits the body.

Side B is a deep dive back into the body; a surveying of false-firing neurons and shifty synapses. “What The Heart Wants” reveals glimpses of melody coated in the thick, penetrating swells that circulate the walls and headspace of your life. Time becomes nearly irrelevant while your true self fights to rise above ego and bullshit. With tension so dense, it’s a wonder how the flubbing and pulsating doesn’t implode. Deeper into the song, the tones and depth crystallize and trickle down like microscopic snowflakes. The second movement is a series of bleeps and repetitive hums. There’s a constant throbbing to keep the listener focused. The static waves flow until the synthesizer grows demigod in size, and once again, the sheer magnitude of electric currents and buzzing teases blowout, only to dim away before contact. The song fades introspectively where the scenery fizzles out as a tender explosion finally occurs. We are not the same as we entered.

Skomsvold’s The Heart Wants permits time and space to flood the levee of your soul. Like the richly colored stones on the cover, The Heart Wants aims to rise from the grey, colorless shadows and manifest into something truly magnetic. A better you awakes.

(You can listen to The Heart Wants below via Bandcamp and get more info about Former Selves on Facebook HERE.)

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