Long Forgotten Days Under a Dust Covered Sky is a release which, unlike many records, perfectly manages to encapsulate both its musical content and album artwork within its title. Indeed, the dusty vinyl sounds of Long Forgotten Days... is the first of two records, the second of which will be released in July (again on the Japanese label Nomadic Kids Republic), and whilst the connection between the two isn’t stated (or even a concrete fact), the possibility of some connection piques one’s interest beyond the mere sonic content of the release - a reaction that could also be said to be true of the album when viewed by itself.
Without first listening to the record, this is a rather vague assertion. Yet once one is fully absorbed into the beautiful, melancholic and deliberately emotionally withheld tracks presented by Quak, you realise that he seeks to raise more questions than he ever answers in his music, with Long Forgotten Days... providing the listener with beautifully painful snapshots of something - yet never arriving at a final, definite picture. Taking track Stellar as an example, Quak builds layers and layers of tones into a musical colossus that seems just about to reveal itself, before allowing it to decay into mere cricket hiss and delicate high frequencies, drawing back at the last moment, leaving the listener grasping for something definite to hold onto, yet not in a disappointing sense. Instead, myriad possibilities are briefly yet beautifully opened up by Quak, before one is sucked once again into another miniature soundworld.
As such, the album can be somewhat of a double edged sword to the listener. Whilst one cannot ignore the understated beauty of tracks such as How Soon the Day Ended and A Grey Sun, A Cold Morning, that they are such fleeting moments - with tracks averaging a length of only about three to four minutes - sometimes leaves one grasping for a little ‘more’. Whilst this was most probably Quak’s aim with the record, the lack of some form of musical closure in final track To Feel Nothing can perhaps create an effect that, whilst beautifully melancholic, can also be somewhat alienating - not necessarily a desired listening experience.
Review by Max Hampshire