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Metavari: Soft Continuum (Studies, Vol. 2)

Fort Wayne’s Nathaniel Utesch has built his own unique, singular sonic world within the music project Metavari.

Metavari

J. Hubner

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 29, 2022

Fort Wayne’s Nathaniel Utesch has built his own unique, singular sonic world within the music project Metavari. 

There’s been an evolution from the band’s post-rock beginnings with a stage full of members, to the crystalline electronic tones that Utesch has brought the music to currently. The last few years have seen Metavari make the striking electronic album Moonless, score Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, re-imagine the scores to the short films of David Lynch, and find a musical rebirth with drummer Colin Boyd after the tragic loss of founding member and longtime friend Ty Brinneman. 

On Soft Continuum (Studies Vol. 2), Utesch builds fantastical new sonic realms. With Boyd making his percussive mark, along with past members Andrew McComas, Kyle Steury, and Brinneman contributing, Soft Continuum (Studies Vol. 2) is a trip into the past while firmly stepping into the future.

The new release is a re-imagining of Metavari’s debut album Be One Of Us And Hear No Noise, and the conceptualized tracks are titled after the stages of a star’s rare “stellar rebirth.” Listening to the album you get the feeling of floating through the void. Seeing the past, present, and future swim around you in a kaleidoscope of emotional release. Life, death, and rebirth are at the heart of this album. 

“Kings Die Like Other Men (Rediscovery)” reminds me of early Boards of Canada, while building new musical architecture only Utesch has the blueprints for. “Drift” opens like a fairy tale as we enter this vast and wondrous world. There is joy here. Single “Páirc Sequence” provides ample light and dark, opening on a grand scale while providing tiny pockets of subtlety. It’s truly a grand musical statement.

Elsewhere there’s the three part “Arc,” which ranges from the sublime (“Arc I”) to the urgent (“Arc III”). There’s the subtle movements of “Furioso” which brings to mind Stein and Dixon, while I hear the great Tangerine Dream in the shaded melody of “Swarm.” All of it coming to an end on the mysterious and quietly melancholy “Bloom.”

Soft Continuum (Studies Vol. 2) is Metavari’s ode to life and death. It’s his goodbye to a friend and bandmate gone, and to a “stellar rebirth” of a project he’s led nearly 15 years. 

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