“Analog vintage synths / imaginary soundscapes“ are mentioned as influences of the relatively recent Greek duo Ice_Eyes. As the first release on Nutty Wombat Records, Quartz is an intimate piece requiring an active imagination, giving us an initial idea of the label's melodic orientation.
Soundscapes indeed; the structures presented in their creations create timeless illustrations and narratives with melodic influences spanning decades of electronic music, each track presenting unique arrangements and emotions.
Starting with Behind Glass, we are greeted by a need of discovery. The melody stimulates the inquisitive side of our minds. As a book that you're just starting to read, or a windowed door calling upon you to open it – what lies beyond the glass? This first track is an invitation to open the door and satisfy your curiosity. Is it the start of an adventure?
The rough and jacking Nobody seems to serve as an emotional baseline, a slight feeling of emptiness, and awareness of the passage of time. Most likely deception caused by initial high expectations. There is, though, a slight feeling of relief, making you keep your optimism that things will get better. They do.
Onyx presents itself as a monolithic piece, with a strong and steady rhythm, a statement. Distant vocals add to it a subtle humane aspect. A wonder created by humans? The conclusion of a generation's efforts? Pride in one's personal achievements? The feelings it stirs make of it a deeply intimate track.
Probably the most intricate story is presented in Self Portrait, evolving and organic melodies shaping an elaborate illustration of a moment in time, making sure that it won't ever be forgotten. The duo skillfully gives you the tools to fill in the scene with your own life experience.
The narrating Shifted can be interpreted as another moment of relief, a pause, an opportunity to become aware of your body once more. Slightly dry but dynamic rhythms keep you moving. The strings towards the end announce an upcoming change, uplifting and optimistic.
Subtle vocals, children supposedly taking pictures and describing their feelings as they look upon those instants, give The Masters and the Minor Ones a rather nostalgic and dramatic tone, albeit positive, as if an important part of your life has ended, a new start being just around the corner. The stage thus seems well set for ThirtyFive, the sequel, narrating the following stage in life. Have the children grown up? As a conclusion, one can consider Wave of Affection as the blissful moment of being overwhelmed by positive and nurturing feelings, it's impossible not to smile when this track is playing.
One can arguably consider the last three tracks in the release as regards to important moments in life, retrospectively observed from somewhere in the future: childhood and its bliss, how one changes from that moment, and the first taste of breathtakingly positive feelings.
Overall, Ice_Eyes have brought to life a dear and cozy ambiance, inviting moments of retro- and intro-spection, canvases to be filled by your own experiences in life. They do not fear intimacy, and try to make you as comfortable as possible in the process.
Nutty Wombat's next release was announced to be by Big Fat Lips, skilled in melancholic and atmospheric sounds. Definitely a label to closely follow.