Repetition, Change, and Somewhere in Between

A track by Chicago's Vapor Lanes

Vapor Lanes’ “Appearing” is little more than a few notes on repeat, but that little goes a long way. The cycle of these notes is such that one can get vaguely lost in the proceedings, wondering where one is at in the rotation, whether there has been melodic variation. Repetition is a form of change because the brain fills in the resulting blanks. A track like “Appearing” plays with those faculties by introducing just enough variation — a late-arriving bass line of sorts, tweaks to the original phrasing, intermittent grace notes — to throw off the listener’s memory. The notes settle into the background because they hover halfway between fuzzy and percussive, each sounding like a harpsichord made of dusty synthetic feathers, each isolated event a soft utterance that gently merges into the track’s white-noise foundation.

Track originally posted for free download at Vapor Lanes is based in Chicago, Illinois.

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