Moses Sumney’s instrument is his beautiful voice, which is layered and treated throughout Aromanticism and framed by his own unobtrusive production. I say unobtrusive because the tracks almost resemble soundscapes, with percussive elements almost completely absent, as layers of Sumney’s falsetto drift over beds of keyboards and waves of reverb.
The album starts off with the choral Man on the Moon, a 37-second slice of layered and processed vocal harmonies, which serves as introduction to the drama and scope of what is to come. Sumney uses technology to create new sounds out of his voice in much the same way that James Blake does, but with a more avant garde tilt. There’s a certain feeling of loneliness that is conjured in part by the sparse yet pretty production, but also through the way his devastating falsetto is treated – managing to feel quite intimate and disconnected simultaneously.
Don’t Bother Calling is a great example of this, with a pitched-down vocal introducing the hook while a single falsetto note is stretched and smeared across the stereo field, cloaked in reverb and sounding almost like a synth part. When the lead vocal begins these effects give way to a single accompanying guitar part, with Sumney’s almost playful delivery and sad melody feeling extremely personal and yet not of this world. The amount of care put into the sonics of Aromanticism alone result in a devastatingly beautiful record that you could lose yourself in.
Originally published in Beat Magazine.