Let me breathe you in
And never let you go
Dark; haunting; beautiful. How many times have these words been used to describe a piece of music? The songs change, but the feelings remain the same. Music connects us with our inner selves, exposing us to a vast array of complex emotions. Despite the limitations of the English language, adjectives like dark, haunting, and beautiful help us to externalize the listening experience – and just like a good song, they never grow old.
Listen: “Dust” – BRÅVES
Little is known about Los Angeles-based BRÅVES; like so many before them, the trio use online anonymity to their advantage, forcing their SoundCloud audience to focus on the music. To their credit, many people are listening: In a week’s time, BRÅVES’ new single “Dust” has amassed over 69,000 listens. It’s a very impressive feat for a group with less than 100 “likes” on Facebook.
Yet it isn’t surprising; once you discover them, BRÅVES will become an instant favorite. As one SoundCloud user commented, BRÅVES are a “one in a million time artist.”
When the blood is lost
It turns to rust
We return our hearts
Into the dust
“Dust” is the epitome of dark, haunting, and beautiful. Its lack of an introduction is at once jarring, yet calming: The intimacy of the opening vocal line, lightly supported by harmonizing vocal oohs and a subdued piano, immediately draws listeners into a world of vulnerability and emotional restraint. A deep, resonant bass comes in to cover up the song’s nakedness, successfully doing so while also upholding its ethereal environment.
Building and falling in dynamic fashion, “Dust” is propelled onward by emphatic shifts. Its fragile frame proves to be a stable blueprint as evocative whispers are juxtaposed against trembling wails.
And now my ancient love
Goes on and on and on
Let me breathe you in
And never let you go
Though my heart may take its time
I still believe in love
What I wanted all along
I never knew was us
Lacking in a traditional chorus, “Dust” reads more like a poem than it does a song. However, one repeated phrase stands out from all the rest: “I still believe in (love/us).” The veil shrouding the music and artist in mystery falls ever so slightly as the song’s sheer humanity becomes increasingly prominent. “Dust” is as fragile in music as it is in meaning: This is BRÅVES’ solemn, heart-wrenching ode to a lost love. It is an admission of guilt for still being in love; it is a plea for forgiveness for not moving on; and it is a declaration of steadfastness – I still believe.
“Dust” presents the notion that, even after one’s own feelings of love toward another are gone, one may still have faith in the relationship – regardless of if it was (exists only in the past) or is (having existed at some point in time, it forever has its place in time). Whether this exhibits itself as nostalgia or ill-fated optimism is up to an individual to decide: The intricacy of such deep emotions is what complicates feelings to the point that they exist outside the realm of words. One can be appreciative of times gone by – an “ancient love,” perhaps – without wishing for a resurrection of the past.
Til our wings fall off
into the sun
Caught in everyone
Is every song
Thus we are left with BRÅVES’ complicated, tangled web – a dark, haunting, and beautiful examination of the human condition from a still-up-and-coming group. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – all things have an end. So, too, does “Dust”: As the climactic crescendo passes its peak, the vocals glitch, sputtering almost, like a machine gone awry. With the last audible breathe, BRÅVES give their work finality: “To dust.”
Injecting trace amounts of soul and R&B into an electronic music context, BRÅVES seem to fit neatly into the sonic space between Sir Sly and Jungle. Whether they will remain in that space will be effectively determined on the brand they choose to become: Having demonstrated a proficiency at making intensely moving, genre-bending and off-the-beaten-path music, BRÅVES have our solid attention as an artist to watch for in 2016.
Until then, we’ll be listening to “Dust” along with BRÅVES’ past releases – including “Crush,” a breathtaking piece written for Gardeners of Eden, a 2015 directory about African elephant poaching. That’s right: Not only can this group make music, but they also care about making a greater difference.
This could be the start of something special.