Almost an hour into Let It Happen Here And Now on an initial listen at OBLADADA, as track 8 – Our Own Private Universe gathered itself in our ears, we felt a very particular wave of emotion. Very quickly, realising the track was a slower, more spacious reworking of Desant’s already gloriously beautiful Cleanse.
Cleanse, from 2020’s Superbloom II, when Desant worked under the Phantoms Vs Fire name, has long held a fairly unique power over us, a piece of music that has never failed to stop us in our tracks. In its original form, it’s electronic and synthetic, but more than anything, it has a soaring brain tickling magnificence. It’s always felt like a slow neon pan through the night jungle in James Cameron’s Avatar. But here, it now feels like something much more earth based, green and dew encrusted.
Whilst the Phantoms Vs Fire project has explored all sorts of electronic tangents, it’s always been the dreamy, vaguely filmic tracks peppered through numerous releases, that have hit us the hardest.
On that basis, Let It Happen Here And Now is a 90 minute sweeping epic made of that very stuff, and is nothing short of stunning. It’s also clear that the overall mood, titles, and artwork all seem to gather around a vaguely outlined backstory. The actual details aren’t necessarily important but it’s easy to see much here as captured moments of calmness and beauty, in a sea of existential blackness.
Perhaps this slightly sombre mood might seem uncomfortably gloomy or ominous but as a world still bruised from covid, and all sorts of other challenges, there is a skill in somehow creating something uplifting and willingly repeatable, from these heavy ashes. Whatever the spark was, at the heart of Let It Happen Here And Now has been remodelled into a beautifully universal reckoning.
The encrusted piano and synth swells of the opener Come Watch The Rain With Me, is a slice of ambience that despite effortlessly framing Eno or Basinski, somehow still perfectly heralds something new. When I Guessed Your Name And Life Was Never The Same takes piano keys and watery strings and slowly surges upwards in ghostly orchestral waves. Similarly, a woozy off centre unease tugs Endless Worlds With Countless Versions Of Our Life Together into oddly distorted fanfares…
Things somehow fully align in the wonderous chiming kaleidoscope of Let Our Thoughts Harden Into Fact (The Swan II). A cycle of more orchestral smears surging into a soaring, sparkling, spine tingling climax. It’s the sound of snow falling in an old black and white film, a memory of another time and frankly, that weird dreamy nostalgia that certain sounds make us humans conjure.
E Live Oak Dr is oil and water mixing, toxic electronics, stirred into more strummed and bowed strings, and I Am Your Home another soft edged textural drift.
Despite the fact, much here could be considered a fairly conventional, tasteful sounding form of classical ambience, there is a growing sense of more agitated elements slowly corroding that overall sheen. This finally looms into view in the album’s epic 18-minute-long title track. Yet again teased out of long droning strings but this time meshing with shamanic drums and then hard-edged electronic fragments. Various worlds over lapping but when things finally assimilate, it’s an oddly heaving layered mass that barely holds itself together, before pulling itself into pieces…
The City of Angels Pours Out Upon Me and the almost static Interdimensional Sleep carry us forward another quarter of an hour. The closer Beyond The Mental Chatter We Find Our Garden hangs like a dream as sampled fragments including mystic Neville Goddard, and Waiting For A Train by Jimmy Rodgers. The overall feeling is the whole album slowly re-anchoring itself into a sleepy and human void.
It’s quite possible that in another universe, it would be easy to see this entire album as a sprawling one in need of perhaps a tighter edit here or there. But somehow, despite the huge emotional intensity of almost every moment, its unwieldiness seems to somehow fit perfectly.
Let It Happen Here And Now feels like a project that Desant simply had to work through and get out his system – an artist redrawing his own experiences in his own vocabulary. We have the heft of orchestral strings, thick atmospherics, peppered with electronics and superb sound design. That no mention is made of any additional players, the sense everything here is all one person, is even more impressive. That it’s melancholic and beautiful, intensely personal, and outwardly symbolic, gives the whole album a lasting sense that’s hugely and universally comforting.
The black specks at the very core of this music, in Desant’s hugely talented hands, have been transformed into huge tracts of absolute beauty.
He’s turned shit into gold.
Let It Happen Here And Now is released on 12 May.
Available as a limited edition CD + Booklet/Poster, CD, and digital