25 September 2023

A Lost Light

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Pacific Heights, Warner music Australia 2018.

Pacific Heights is an award-winning electronica project by Wellington musician, Devin Abrams, who spent 15 years as a key songwriter and founding member of Shapeshifter.

The album is based around a central theme of an 18th century man’s journey to the Pacific and the highs and lows that followed.

It came to Devin in a vivid dream and much like the dream the opening track, The Greystone, gradually appears out of the mist before developing into an atmospheric piece that takes us on board and sets the scene for the journey.

Through the 10 tracks we participate in the protagonist’s journeys of discovery, both inward, and into new lands.

The tracks vary from languid and calm to insistent and tense, but the overall feeling is one of some sort of ominous foreboding.

The sound is large and multi layered.

It is as vast as the ocean travelled.

Tracks like, The End Is In Sight, build in tension as they develop with insistent bass driving the piece to a conclusion, while Calling Home begins with explosions that could be cannon shots or the presence of some approaching danger.

Once again we’re shrouded in the mists of uncertainty.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve listened to an album like this.

It reminds me of the prog rock of people like Alan Parsons and some Pink Floyd albums, although the synth is dominant in Devin’s work as opposed to the searing guitar of Floyd’s David Gilmour.

Devin’s previous album, 2016’s The Stillness, won The Best Electronic Album at the New Zealand Music Awards and was nominated for the Taite Music Prize and APRA Silver Scroll Award.

I can see no reason why this album shouldn’t be equally successful.

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