Singapore-Melbourne transplant Marcus Chong is a renaissance man for and of the modern age: engineer, 3D artist and musician, his former two professions audibly bleed through into his latter one, making his musical output a daunting, yet rewarding listen. Having previously made his mark with standout CGI work for the likes of Amon Tobin and Jimmy Edgar, and after having been first teased to a larger audience in Liar’s standout 2016 mix for DIS Magazine, “How To Fuse Trends & Alienate People”, Marcus dons the Night Dives moniker for his self-titled debut on Infinite Machine.
EP opener “Crib Point” is a deeply cinematic, strongly early-90’s piece, ROMpler-tastic and riddled with darkly flamboyant arpeggiation and eerily vibrant counterpoint. While the obvious comparisons to Carpenter or Al Qadiri might apply, one is reminded more of the languorous, frostbitten romance of darkwave/EBM darlings such as Clan of Xymox or Blutengel.
“Far Away Station” continues the aural narrative established by “Crib Point”, while starting to lean into half-time nocturnal electro – a promise on which “Maybe Another Time” delivers, with its Hague-inflected cryo-funk.
Which brings us to “Elysia” – quite possibly the crown jewel of this EP, and definitely the demo that got Night Dives signed. Bone-chillingly beautiful and gothic synth theatrics (once again reminiscent of the halcyon days of darkwave) start us off, then give way to a spacious arrangement of trap-indebted slow-mo club beats, face-melting crescendo sonics, and the incredibly moving, palpable despondency of a regret-laden vocal sample declaring “I looked as hard as I could…”.
Closer “Cathedral” quadruples down on the heretofore-established drama, resulting in a yet another half-time piece which, daresay, approaches the platonic ideal of heartbreak. As the reverb-drenched sax solo comes in, and wistful whispers suffuse the stereo spectrum, one can only let go and join us… join us as we go dive into the night.
released October 27, 2017
Artwork by Marcus Chong
Mastered by Cyrcular Mastering
supported by 11 fans who also own “IM061 - Night Dives - Night Dives”
A very worthwhile release with proceeds to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. For me a big bonus is the appearance of 2 of my favourite artists in Laurel Halo and Chino Amobi. But it's all good. Gavin Hellyer