Darcy Baylis has today released his anticipated debut album, Intimacy & Isolation.
The Melbourne producer has been on our radar for some time now, turning heads with his abstruse, experimental soundscapes that take us on an complicated but blissful listening experience.
On his latest project, Baylis conveys a different story within each track that reflects various moments in his life over a 12-month period. We spoke with him ahead of the release to give us a run-down on the narrative behind each track.
Listen to the Intimacy & Isolation here, and enjoy the stories behind the songs below.
“All I Is”
This was the first piece of music I made that would end up on the album. I had that weird reversed sample looping on my computer for days, even weeks on end, but I just had no idea what to do with. One night me and my friend Polly got drunk and showed each other our most secret works. I played her some of this weird music I’d been working on and she read me a poem she wrote, titled All I Is.
“Breath is the Original Instrument (First Movement)”
In Joan La Barbara’s “Voice is the Original Instrument”, the human voice is stretched to its physical and emotional limit. I became obsessed with the spaces in between the sung notes, and made a number of pieces which used breath as an instrument. This happened to be the best one.
I wanted the first time I spoke on the album to be vague, in the way that the beginning of stories usually are (“This really weird thing happened…”, “I don’t know if I can talk about it yet”). The actual words, “As you dig your feet in/I will sink my teeth into the floor” are one of a few borrowed phrases on the album – this one is for the real emo heads.
“At Sloterdijk Station / The Force Won’t Kill Me”
This song is essentially three, with one unifying theme: death. The first was made on a bus from Leipzig to Berlin. The second started around 6am at Sloterdijk Station, the central station in Amsterdam. I finished it on Christmas morning in an AirBnB in New York, then shared a cigarette on the fire escape with my best friend while listening to the finished product.
“We Sleep in Different Rooms Now”
Moving from loving someone to being completely estranged from them is one of the strangest experiences of the human condition. People become symbols. Memories become hypotheses. You revisit the image repertoire hoping to find something other than a projection of yourself. It doesn’t happen. I was going for 15th Century Bryson Tiller on this one.
I honestly think this might be my favourite song on the record. Despite being abrasive to the point of being nearly intolerable, it has everything I set out do with this album: an ostinato borrowed from a Poppy Metal band, relentless repetition in the style of early Reich or Glass and a collection of tone colours that straddle the line between being pretty and completely repulsive.
I spent the night of my 21st birthday in the emergency room of an inner city hospital. A month later, I wrote a letter to my past self, telling that person that everything was eventually going to be okay. I think I was somehow trying to retroactively change the future. Polly helped me with the words on this one, too. That guitar solo is probably the best moment on the album.
There is a moment in Norwegian Wood where the protagonist, Toru Watanabe, describes memory as “a hollow sound that echoes with each kick”, of which the sound is “bound to fade away one day”. I needed to create a lasting record of certain memories because I am terrified of losing them forever.
I asked my friend Joe to make a beat that was somewhere between “Take Care” and “Vespertine” and they basically did exactly that.
“Be Patient, Be Tender”
This song is, ostensibly, about addiction. However, rather than using metaphors to describe the experience, the phenomenon of addiction became became a collective metaphor for everything else. In this way the album kind of comes full circle, ending on an uncharacteristically optimistic note. Don’t take Xanax.