Album Review: Melodia - Small Conversations

Well well well—the gawd has done it again.

It seems like only moments ago I was writing up FedericoDurand’s latest solo effort, and lo and behold, he has returned, yet again, with ANOTHER NEW RELEASE—this time, teaming with frequent collaborator Tomoyoshi Date on the aptly titled EP Small Conversations, released under the duo’s Melodia moniker.

Small Conversations marks the third time Date and Durand have worked together as Melodia, and with each effort, the pair continues to look further inward into the introspective, somber, and reflective places with the music they create.

Arriving roughly two years (give or take a few months) after the duo’s sophomore effort, Diario de viaje, Small Conversations finds them picking up where they left off with the four tracks on this EP. Long gone are the field recordings and more expansive and organic “found” sounds of the duo’s debut from 2013, and surpassing the small room, low light, late night vibe of Diario de viaje, this new release finds Date and Durand crafting an even more (how is that possible) intimate listening experience.

The EP begins with “A blue place,” which finds the duo dueling on string instruments again, as they did on Diario’s “La luz de tarde,” creating a bit of a frenetic, tense, and fumbling opening piece once it really gets going—and you can hear echoes of it in the follow up, the slightly dissonant “A last message of the rainy day.”

Small Conversations moves into more pensive and evocative territory in its second half—the fragile “Reverie” is the stand out track from among the four; for 11 minutes, Durand and Date sustain long droning tones and melancholic piano notes that, as they plunk along toward the end, wind up sounding just a little like a bit of the score from the movie Love, Actually.

The EP concludes with the longest track, “A lilac name written on water”—an epic in length, slow motion feedback loop that bends, rises, and falls over its well paced 13 minute running time.

There is little, if any, resolve at the end of Small Conversations. “lilac” comes to an end, and fades into the distance. This is a relatively short effort, and while you can tell the same two people composed these four tracks, there is little cohesion that connects one to the next as the effort progresses forward. However, they are each wondrous when taken on their own, and it is impressive that Durand has put out yet another release in such a short span of time (does the guy ever not work?) and it is comforting to know that he and Date are still collaborating as Melodia.

For fans of the first two Melodia releases, this is essential listening. For those who may be reading this that are new to these albums, it is not the best place to start, but it is a place you should eventually find yourself enraptured in.

Small Conversations is out now as a CD and digital download, via White Paddy Mountain.