“Higher Moment / Amnesia” is the follow up to “Paradise / In Love An Arc”, Amor’s debut 12”, which surfaced in May 2017. Culled from the same sessions at Chem 19 and The Green Door in Glasgow, these two tracks elevate the ecstatic, transcendent aesthetic Richard Youngs, Luke Fowler, Michael Francis Duch and Paul Thomson introduced with their previous release. Amor is collectivism in the servitude to trance, a master class in ensemble playing, an avant-disco one-mind. Amor’s practice is simple. Four musicians, in a room, together with the groove. Playing for hours on end, improvising and honing down each track to its bones to be fleshed out, Amor fuses acoustic instrumentation with sharp, electronic precision.
Central to each track is the elastic double bass playing of Michael Francis Duch, a backbone that breathes and allows drummer / percussionist Thomson to explore. This time around mixed by Paul Savage at Chem 19, “Higher Moment” on Side A, forsakes the 4/4 of the group’s previous two tracks for a loping ecstasy, a driving rhythm that forges forward around the bassline. Youngs’ vocal here is the focal point, teaming with an almost utopian positivity. For an artist who’s built a career obfuscating, sidestepping the straightforward, to hear a sentiment so pure is spine-tingling. In fact to imagine a Youngs brimming over with a higher love is almost the biggest curveball this artist has ever thrown at the listener. With the line ‘following fearless through clear boredom,’ we imagine a path to a new world shorn of the material. On the flip, “Amnesia” re-introduces the pounding 4/4 kick with a bittersweet cadence provided by Youngs’ piano. Here, Fowler’s subtle effects dress the movement, highlighting the tension between the forceful, House percussion and Youngs’ minor key melody. “Amnesia”’s power comes from the edit, a skillful carving up of the groove to create several beautiful, odd moments in time. Indeed, with its to-the-floor pulse, “Amnesia” searches deeper into inner space, providing a melancholy twist to “Higher Moment”’s optimism. Artwork by Robert Beatty.
‘Combining grooving double bass, felt electronic beats, analogue keyboards and quivering vocals, all explored within the contours of an epic 14 minute dance jam, Amor’s “Paradise” suggests what the mutant, earthy funk of the early 1980s might have sounded like if it had found its first breakthrough in 2017. It’s simply one of my favourite tracks of the year.’ – Tim Lawrence.
SIDE A: Higher Moment (11.23)
SIDE B: Amnesia (13:19)
Night School LSSN058