Mikael Delta – Life Is Now
Listening to the autumnal release of Mikael Delta’s latest record, Life is Now, is like spending a day in a bustling metropolis. Delta’s sophomore release contains an intriguing blend of easily natural, and provocatively unnatural sounds “which reflect(s) the relationship of the artist with the urban landscape” (Inner Ear Records). The urban appeal is ever present in Delta’s diverse sound clips that pervade all 11 tracks on the album. As both composer and DJ, Delta’s work has been featured in scores for theatre and film (see “A Woman’s Way”, “Real Life” –mikaeldelta.net) In many ways, I find the album to be similar to a film soundtrack. It covers a wide range of emotions from an intense chase scene to a lonely city stroll and the general hustle of city life to the point that one can almost picture the accompanying scenery and the construction work occurring in the background. One track in particular, “Late Night People,” seems to be a soundtrack for following different routes, intentions, and emotional states of people walking around late at night. Varying from harsh, metallic city sounds to subdued club-style beats, “Late Night People” oscillates from urban enchantment in a post-party haze to the melancholy realities of existing in, and being a part of, a concrete jungle.
Our second track, “Rising Cities” contains stormy, somber piano that generates an overall dismal feeling and is only accented by the addition of the ominous screeching of car tires. “Rising Cities” is highly representative of the tone of Life is Now which is centered around a layered effect of piano and cello over brisk rhythmic clippings of beats to create a scene that is moody and complicated but also relatable in that it mimics sounds of daily life. Most of the tracks begin similarly with a casual, clicky, and mechanical seeming beat that is cleverly blended with some type of earthy sound like rain spatters, crunching snow, or gusting wind.
I also found myself drawn to the track “Ubha Line” due to its unique composition. Spliced with train whistles and blurbs of city life, “Ubha Line” thrusts the listener into a metropolitan commute with a steady strolling beat and bits of conversation that recreate the sonic life of an urban dweller en route. Then there is also the added intentionality of the piano, which behaves as if it is a conscious narrative with sonorous emotional variations that might be akin to the inner world of feelings any person on the street may potentially harbor.
Overall, I found Life is Now to be a conceivably cinematic ode to the obvious, yet mysterious, workings of our daily lives as modern humans. With his ingenious coupling of enchanting melodies with non-musical sound, Delta creates beauty, order, and purpose in an otherwise chaotic landscape. Though Life is Now covers a vast array of sonic terrain and human emotions, I fear it may only appeal to folks who are already fans of avante-garde ambient and electronic music. This is pure assumption, however, and I encourage anyone looking to broaden their musical sphere to give Life is Now a listen as they walk down the busy streets of life.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: 3 Stars
Album Name: Life is Now
Date Released: October, 2015
Genre: Electronic, Ambient, Downtempo
Location: Athens, Greece
Band Members: Mikael Delta (composer), Nikos Veliotis (cello), Hristos Lainas (guitars, metallophone) Stavros Parginos (cello)
Record Label: Inner Ear Records