Riding a cascade of field recordings through deep waves of ambient and classical meditations, the second installment of Youngbloods’ 2019 Spring Programme is the new full-length album from British composer Suplington. “After Life” is a curious glance beyond the veil of waking life into what epilogues we might encounter, a siren’s song calling to the horizon of our inevitability.
Like the last mists clinging to the shoreline before daybreak, the collected works of Suplington, born Nakula Fogg, grapple with insurmountable moments of transition. From exploring the space between dreaming and waking with his 2014 debut Tokyo Reflections to mapping the progressive stages from birth to death with 2016’s long-form composition “Music For Life Cycles (I-VII)”, Fogg has long sought to know the corners of existence that sit just outside our perception.
With his first cassette and full-length album “Repeating Flowers” in 2017, the reclusive producer expanded his purview to illustrate modalities of rebirth, shifting to ambient modes bent by restraint and patience. To conquer that angst and make the unknowable familiar, Fogg sharpened his focus with intimate classical instrumentation to craft “After Life”, his most cerebral and theatrical work to date.
“After Life” finds form as a visual trilogy that follows the tides: rolling in at the moment of finality and out again into the infinite ocean before basking in acceptance at the shores of the intangible. Suplington opens the album with an undercurrent of low-hanging frequencies and wades through a bleak abyss toward celestial bells that shimmer and hover over a heavy anchor of static and beckon to something more decidedly pure. As “After Life” unfolds it paints a nautical panorama of isolation by blending the crash of slow-moving waves and birds calling home with the significant contributions from Brooklyn-based cellist Greg ‘Cosmo D’ Heffernan alongside appearances by saxophonist Kroba, flutist Nadiya Darling, and percussive accompaniments by frequent collaborators Sanatan and Faroese. The album ends with controlled chaos extinguishing itself, relaxing into ecstatic relief. A rush of thick arpeggiations and bellowing strings echo one last gasp of awe before the closing hymn gently drops the final ripple into an endless pool of resolution.
A grand yet forbearing course charted through the currents of those final moments, “After Life” by Suplington is available from Youngbloods on limited 12” vinyl and across digital channels.