Jonathan Carlisle- Let me Fade Away (Instrumental Review)

Written by Pat Moran

Jonathan Carlisle’s “Let Me Fade Away” is a ghostly nocturne that doesn’t evoke the night. Instead, with clouded background noise and warbling notes that suggest that the track has been rediscovered on a carefully hand-lettered yet long forgotten mix tape, the Ohio pianist’s ruminative composition seems to take place during in-between times – pre-dawn’s diffused pearly glow, the bruised veil of twilight.

Thick architectural chords anchor the solo piece, but they seem muted by time or neglect. It’s like glimpsing the structural bones of Carlisle’s composition as if they were far away rain-slashed ruins.

Rooted to a series of recurring descending notes, Carlisle extends exploratory figures that cradle and enfold one another before drifting apart. With melodic variations that whirlpool and eddy like currents in a slow moving stream, “Let Me Fade Away” evokes a yearning yet nonspecific nostalgia, the regret that we can’t remember an enticing dream upon awakening. 

Throughout, Carlisle’s deliberately clouded production bestows the patina of age upon his meditative playing. Like listening to a hissing, popping 78, the track’s distance from us makes it compelling.

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