(Eilean Rec., 2017)
Every Time Feels Like the Last Time is an appropriate aphorism, both as a slogan underscoring the uncertain times in which we live and the pensive solo creation of Daniel W. J. Mackenzie, sometimes known as Ekca Liena. What is the thing that you’re going to do for the last time today that you want to imprint upon your psychic footprint? What moment do you think you’ll hold as you pass into the next life, or the next phase of your cosmic travels? It could be anything: waking up next to a partner, spreading jam on your toast, walking your dog, driving through heavy traffic, reading a book. Thing is, these days it’s never a given that the next day will follow, and so this time could very easily be the last time. It’s this feeling that holds throughout Mackenzie’s record, and the deep sense of melancholy that emanates from each note, each chord, each delicate flourish pervades and thickens till you reach the end of the record, uncertainty hanging on your conscious mind like a dragging anchor. It will linger long after the record ends, the mood shifting itself from the music to your thoughts to continue its agenda long after you’ve switched off your stereo and wandered out your front door to contemplate your very existence. That’s the work of a master craftsman – Mackenzie burrows himself into the parts of your life where music doesn’t necessarily reach, reminding you of Every Time Feels Like the Last Time and that every time feels like the last time. Is he unwelcome? Hardly. Although it’s not as if we need the reminder – again, this record is quite an adept mirror, reflecting the despondency we now permanently exhibit. And it’s not like this is really making us feel any worse about ourselves – on the contrary, Every Time Feels Like the Last Time is more like a companion, a perpetual presence that soothes the feelings of hopelessness and massages our dull aches into workable social functions. The pain is always there. Every Time is always there. The balm is real and it works, and it’s universal. It doesn’t matter how unclear the future really is – it’s just that: unclear. So what it comes down to is that, yeah, we’re on the brink, but Daniel Mackenzie has given us some auditory narcotics to nudge us back a little bit from it, to allow us a glimmer of light to reach the darkened corners of neuroses. And it’s pretty gorgeous, heady work when you get right down to it.