Four years after Trails, Berlin-based musician and sound artist Subheim has announced the release of a new album.ΠΟΛΙΣ is out later this month via Denovali Records. According to the press release, Pronounced “Polis,” the Greek word for “city,” ΠΟΛΙΣ doesn’t so much evoke the rapid cadences of life in a modern metropolis as it does the unspoken tension between longing to escape and being trapped in some kind of concrete stasis – living together with millions of souls in an expansive emptiness.
Subheim uses ΠΟΛΙΣ as a vehicle to depart from traditional songwriting structures, crafting each track as a piece of a larger sonic collage. Songs come out of nowhere, abruptly come to end before they even get a chance to start or introduce new motifs and surprise reprises long after we expect the next track to cue up. These stutter-start forms reflect the four years it took for the record to take shape: a series of failed musical experiments, indecision, balancing an unstoppable creative drive with the unavoidable emotional ebb and flow of life.
Though this is clearly Subheim working at a new level, listeners will recognize the sound of ΠΟΛΙΣ instantly as his, with both hints of the IDM/electronica of Approach era and the unmistaken human element that is present in all his work. The natural, off-grid time feel of the record is effortlessly augmented with field recordings and found sounds, this time around with the addition of more grit and power, and with heavier use of analog synthesizers.
Despite the album being born out of a feeling of alienation from one’s surroundings, it’s impossible to ignore the sense of hope that runs through this LP. In ΠΟΛΙΣ, we hear an arrival at a deeper understanding of oneself, an inner peace amidst the decay and a cautious optimism that comes from someone who just happens to feel most at home in darkness.
“Old Blade” is the first excerpt. Watch it below.