Available on: Diskotopia LP
After a handful of recent appearances on Earnest Endeavours, B.YRSLF Division and Diskotopia, Greeen Linez, the boogie-loving duo of Matt Lyne (A Taut Line) and Chris Greenberg (Hong Kong In The 60s), return on the latter for their debut LP Things That Fade.
Matt Lyne has been a Tokyo resident for some time and, much like fellow occidental expat BD1982 (co-founder of host label Diskotopia with Lyne), this collaborative effort has a sound that is plush and rounded, an emphasis on thickness and warmth that is possibly an assimilation of the country’s pop culture. It also distinguishes Things That Fade from other contemporary boogie-influenced releases, where synths can be left as waveforms much simpler than the squiggle and DX7 layers of original generations, and a flawless mix can sometimes define the space so effectively that the music seems quite bare.
Greeen Linez instead create a thicker sound much truer to the instrumental beds of West Coast boogie in arrangement, structure and the album’s overall mix. ‘Hibiscus Pacific’ is a beautifully executed piece of palm tree boulevard music, emulating both vibe and studio production techniques of the early ’90s California sound to near perfection; ‘Frisk’ adds unexpected-yet-complimentary voicings to its effortlessly accomplished, winding harmonic progressions; ‘Forgotten Shores’ seems to soundtrack a Bond movie exotic island helicopter panorama; ‘Lift Off’ possesses a sumptuous sound that could be adequately compared to a San Fran Sha’Lor -‘I’m In Love’. Indeed, with this in mind, it would be great to hear vocals on future tracks like these, hopefully produced with the same successful attention to vintage detail.
Things That Fade does, however, nudge up against the familiar problem of how to make new music that successfully integrates with a vintage canon. It is a difficult balance to achieve, of course – where does enthusiasm for an influence become aping, versus how does one update a sound without upsetting enthusiasts?
Many of the tracks on this album have voicing elements that jut out ever so slightly as being anachronistic. While not everyone will want to try and achieve a Beautiful Swimmers level of era-authenticity, when everything else in Greeen Linez’s output is so often on the money, it can feel a little bit…well, ’damn, they nearly had it!’ While not necessarily in-keeping with the rest of the album, ‘City Cell’ 1 and 2 are therefore quite interesting for their application of funk elements to a sound palette of chimes and metallic crunches less usual for the genre.
It should be said, though, that these are minor criticisms of a highly accomplished project. There is no rule saying that Greeen Linez must try to be a particular model, and their sound is definitely worthy of continued investment from its creators. There is great potential for the duo to be a step forwards in boogie, and well-earned points should be awarded to Things That Fade for creating some sublime results so far.