It's only July and already I feel it's safe to say: Brady Burke is having one hell of a year. Having doubled his Discogs page this year following his debut twelve for the Mechanical Reproductions imprint in 2016 and the Swarm EP for Ytivil Dnuos in 2017, Via Maris is the second artist to make his proper LIvity Sound debut following Facta's auspicious release back in May. Despite absolutely falling in love with the label's Simo Cell EP last year and recently picking up a much-needed copy of Mosca's "Peyote Stitch," of the seven twelves and one LP the label released last year, it's only the two aforementioned twelves that made a serious impact on me. And while a .250 batting average is totally acceptable for most labels, from its start in 2011, Livity's focus has long been on quality over quantity, making last year's surge in releases so disconcerting.
What a difference two releases can make. I'll probably write about Facta's twelve in this space at some point, but trust me when I say that while Facta's "Dumb Hummer" or "All The Time" might not be instant mindblowers, the mileage I've already gotten out of both tracks in the past six weeks speaks to what wonderful, colorful tools both tracks are. Indeed, for a label that's always operated on the brighter side of the sound-system music spectrum, the change in cover art that met the label's first release of 2018 instantly struck me as a telling one, considering how the label's covers have long served as a visual approximation of the music contained within. Starting off as white labels stamped with face masks in the process of being contorted beyond themselves which were followed by a full-color string of AbEx-flavored labels that melded hard shapes and soft curves with a pacifying color palette, since 2015 the label's visual side has grown increasingly revealing. Where the 2015 covers saw the introduction of an out-of-order body that over the course of four releases cohered into a humanoid figure, 2016 saw this form grow more streamlined while remaining permanently folded in upon itself as the black border of the figure seemed to grow less define. The white-and-not-white two-tone color scheme went decidedly more monochromatic last year as the forms from 2015 and 2016 were back, but this time re-purposed and abstracted even further. So when the covers for the Via Maris and Facta twelves saw the start of the post-humanoid phase of Livity's visual output, I was eager to hear how the music might reflect this external change. Recalling the geometric abstraction of the 2014 covers, the Facta cover featured four distinct colors where the Via Maris went full primary, adding white and gray to the red, yellow, and blue. Both covers feature an unmistakable circle composed of interlocking color-coded building blocks, a description that does not feel at odds with either record released so far. But whereas the Facta tracks felt like a sum of their multi-genre parts, the opening four-note descending synth runs and the restless, loping beat creating a hypnotic intro that is soon shot full of anabolic rainbows. The track's 'hook' is a see-sawing arpeggiated glissando that might simply be the result of the producer hitting two actual notes, but it sounds like we've gone from a twelve-note octave to a 120 note octave. As the track progresses and the hi-hats loosen up alongside the rides that enter the mix, the primary hook starts to fractal and fracture as both audible echoes and aural shadows start popping up everywhere. Sweeping you up and not letting go until it says so, "Glow Wall" is one of those tracks that feels as special on its fiftieth listen as it did on the first.