An oft overlooked aspect of music and art as a broader concept is as a tool for escape. A tool for an alter ego, for a new face, or braver still, a tool to pry open the pandora’s box of infinitely misunderstood ecosystems that coalesce into the human condition inhabiting us all. In no less than twelve concise tracks does Sapporo-born Momiji Tsukada, or the better known Qrion analogously evoke the landscape of her snowy home city, illustrating vividly the journey of the path less travelled.
And all the whilst spanning a variety of genres. Everything is kept far from feeling gimmicky by incredibly unconventional minor progressions that energizingly keep the listener’s attention, and with such seldomly seen practicality due no less to a tactful and purposeful implementation of varied arrangements. The driving four on the floor kick drum of melodic house-centric treats ‘Never Go Back’ & ‘Waterfalls’ convey a confidence starkly in contrast with the playfully pondering 2-step garage rhythms the likes of ‘Fireworks’ or it’s absence entirely as in ‘Maybe It Was Already Here’.
What is established is just how melancholily moving the tonality of the entire record manages to maintain throughout. Beautiful sample selection, soaring sound synthesis and subtle percussion defy a typically overproduced style to create small engineering imperfections that dynamically lend character much larger than the sum of its parts. Most importantly it’s a world that demands not only complete attention but utter abandon, and not just aurally but thematically too. A strong sense of wistfulness permeates throughout and is perhaps most fittingly exemplified by track Mars which truly does feel like a whimsically atmospheric canvas of futuristic sensibilities.
This culminates by far in the strongest aspects of ‘I Hope It Lasts Forever’ – space and mood. Delayed dotted arpeggiations flutter amongst throws of cavernous reverb, lending unmistakable place and scale juxtaposed beneath vocals such as ‘Bright Lights’ feature Flownn and their 90’s/00’s eastern pop evoking croonings. It’s details like this that evoke emotion in such a way that successfully infers the mission statement of the LP being that of nostalgia and the futility we all share of praying to keep fleeting memories forever. A confronting materialisation of heartache mostly abstained from but that is courageously here tackled head-on.
Whereas difficulty to pick a favourite track strikes usually in detriment to any work, here it cannot be overstated just how complimentary it is intended. Like a house of cards, each track fills out a niche of the album as a whole, whereas removing any one pillar would see it crumble. It’s the exact kind of record that exudes part and parcel the adage advice of absolutely having to ‘listen the whole way through’. As excellent a personification of the counter-culture to electronic norms as it is the artist that made it, rarely has an LP taught to much about the person that made it but repeated listens glean only more and more
Standing as an incredibly multi-dimensional representation of not simply people of colour or LGBT communities, but on behalf of the long-form dance release format and electronic music industry whole. ‘I Hope It Lasts Forever’ is as positively poignant in its title as it is in its execution, and it is in that statement alone that Qrion has honestly accomplished just that – something to last forever.