Terence Etc. - V O R T E X Music Album Reviews

Terence Etc. - V O R T E X Music Album Reviews
The debut full-length from the celebrated filmmaker collages genres with abstract ambition, but it often lands with unnerving headiness.

Terence Nance is genre non-compliant. The writer, artist, filmmaker, and musician from Dallas, Texas is most celebrated for his Sundance-premiered film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty and the HBO television series Random Acts of Flyness, stream-of-consciousness tragicomedies that subvert and satirize contemporary Black American narratives. On his debut full-length album V O R T E X, mirror-eyed soul and R&B experiments abound, embracing the “consistency of change” to achieve catharsis. 

The album showcases over 10 years of epic compositional structuring with the help of co-writers and producers, including Nance’s brother Djore, Solomon Dorsey, Nick Hakim, and Nelson Bandela. Over 11 tracks, indie folk, pop, hip-hop, orchestral, and musical theater elements fluctuate against an undercurrent of funk, soul, and R&B. Nance, who performs as Terence, Etc., successfully plugs listeners into a circulatory system of textured stories about relationships, but the record is often intentionally cerebral and unnerving—at times only understood by its creator.

The third track, “In Contemplation of Clair’s Scent,” is where Terence, Etc. feels most harmonious. The ballad skips into focus across hot pavement, a mise-en-scène composed of brass horns, drumline percussion, and a winding electric guitar, blending 1970s Latin jazz and Afrobeats in celebration of Black femininity. After a glorious eruption of samba, the track’s pulse slows in reflection. Nance modulates his vocals, singing, rapping, manipulating his pitch, and sprinkling in Auto-Tune in reflection of his multiplicity. “She brighter than the darkest dawn/So I found the spot where my body born/Found the spot that I suckled on,” he intones, meditating on his relationship to the feminine. Before long, this heady energy shifts into a groove, and then harpist Brandee Younger swaddles us into a heartbreak lullaby.

Terence’s precise vocal performance acts as a lighthouse, guiding tracks with somber themes and oracular production. Emmy Award-winning actor Reg E. Cathey offers a gravelly spoken interlude to preface the metallic, pattering rain driving the elegy “Stay.” This reflection on the emasculation of unrequited love is a bitter concession, as Nance weeps: “The past too long/And the future’s/Already gone/With no children.” The string arrangement on this track anxiously punctuates each acerbic cry, flowing into the indie meltaway track “Infinince or Infinity?” Synths, strings, and horns glide until a glitch of bright horns and electric guitar reveals Nance’s shadow side in the lyrics: “Inconvenient I know it sounds glum/I’m easier to dream about than I am to love.”

The latter half of this album follows the liquid mechanic laws of its namesake. A vortex describes fluid rotating around a center of gravity, its particles slowly decreasing in size, causing the angular movement to speed up and expel matter. Musically, that means the melodrama runs stale after “Sanity Envy,” and it’s hard to stay with Terence, Etc. in what follows. The themes are relatable, but his inner monologue is abstract, the strings are dizzying, and the scream-singing is discordant. The experience revels in abstraction, echoing the “whole war inside of [his] head” described in “I Miss Things I Never Had.”

Beauty lies in the eye of the V O R T E X: its stunning production buoys the spirit of its sobering lyrical contents. Terence Etc. thinks in highly detailed cinematic terms, building complex worlds from experiential and hopeful collisions. His full-length musical debut is a cleansing mechanism, casting the weight of sparse emotions and memories to the sea, forever in flux and in motion. Even as it intends to strike a balance, the concentrated, maximalist components require a sense of patience and submission. Art aficionados will stay along for the ride, but casual listeners may be stranded, overstimulated, and at Nance’s mercy.

Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Terence Etc. - V O R T E X Music Album Reviews Terence Etc. - V O R T E X Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 31, 2022 Rating: 5


Post a Comment