It’s art rock, it’s hip hop, it’s shoegaze darkwave swirling in haunting echoes. Bracketed as a side note, [aftersun] is the Brookly-based solo project of Stephan Cherkashin, former member of Telltale and Audn. His debut EP, Pain Sounds was released this spring.
[aftersun] begins with the wrenching ache of defeat and humility in “You Were Right.” Distant outcries are surrounded in tunnels of grooving doom. Sounding very much trapped in a chamber, the vocals become part of the background, allowing the lead guitar to sing its own chorus.
Secondly on Pain Sounds is “Walking Through This Door Again,” a propulsive piece that could easily accompany the soundtrack of a fourth Bourne film. The spacey techno sequences that ensue are steadied by a consistent electronic beat as the vocals once again become one of the many layers of sound swirling through your head.
Deeper bass notes usher in “Goodbye,” a song which sounds like the deliberation of someone standing at the precipice, considering all that will soon be left behind, then screeching in agony after making the final decision to depart. Again the guitar takes the lead as the layered vocals blend into the heavy atmospheric sounds.
The deep keyboard notes of “Don’t Touch” signal an internal focus, delving into a hypnosis enhanced as drums and bass join in. The description says, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing, she doesn’t know why.” A laboring woman comes to mind when hearing that line, especially as it is followed by the very deliberately stated command, “Please don’t touch her when she’s in pain.” The sober mission-oriented music continues as individual instruments break into elements of the arching sound wave, awesome and all encompassing until the pain is ended and exhilaration is all that remains.
In an exquisite emulation of how the details of the moment warp when we suffer, [aftersun] creates an introspective yet other-worldly atmosphere in Pain Sounds.
Name-your-price album download on bandcamp.