Experimental | R&B | Jazz
moses sumney turns loneliness into unforgettable dreamscapes on ‘aromanticism’
By Nathan Leigh
September 25, 2017
Using little more than his densely layered voice, Moses Sumney casts a spell on Aromanticism. It’s a dreamy patchwork of questions that lead nowhere and answers to questions no-one got around to asking. “If lovelessness is godlessness/Will you cast me to the wayside?” Sumney asks on the sublime “Doomed.”
The album ties together threads present in all of Sumney’s work. From his earliest tape version of “Plastic” to “Man on the Moon,” old thoughts and nagging feelings come to the surface. The lingering loneliness that’s always been a part of his music, is foregrounded. It’s not just the thread of stunning songs like “Lonely World,” it’s the whole cloth. In a lengthy blog post, Sumney explains “Aromanticism is a concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape. It seeks to interrogate the idea that romance is normative and necessary.”
The album is full of contradictions that fit its dream logic. “I’m not trying to go to bed with ya/I just wanna make out in my car,” he sings in the stand-out “Make Out in My Car.” (Spoiler alert: they’re pretty much all standouts.) It’s not just appropriate that Thundercat shows up to lend some low end gravity to Moses Sumney’s stratospheric vocals, it’s nearly inevitable. They both seem to operate in the same dream space in which every chord needs to be richer, every texture more nuanced and complex. Moses Sumney may not have the whimsy and pop-culture obsessions of Thundercat, but there’s no question they’re kindred spirits. I would pay both my dollars to sit in a room and listen to the two of them recount their dreams.
There are no easy answers on Aromanticism. There are no conclusions. Melodies lead down rabbit holes that go nowhere but still made for an unforgettable journey. Thoughts and questions hang in the air unresolved. Sumney declares “This isn’t protest music, however, as much as it is process music.” Throughout Aromanticism, Sumney shows that sometimes there’s power in interpreting dreams.
Aromanticism is out now on Jagjaguwar, and don’t miss his set at AFROPUNK Fest in Atlanta October 15th.
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