Folding Traces has four tracks that create the moments of the album, and five other tracks that melt into each other, if you like the sounds that MHP is using now then you will enjoy the experience but if you are less than crazy for those sounds you might not dig it much. As much as I tried to be taken by the main sounds of Folding Traces it just didn’t happen for me.
I like MHP’s music a lot, and I have enjoyed each release that I’ve gotten from him so I’m not having fun writing that Folding Traces didn’t make it to my favorites. On the positive side, it’s usually a bummer when a musician makes his best album early in his career.
Folding Traces starts with “情感入口 Entrance to My Emotions” featuring a trumpet that sounds very nice, it creates expectations about what’s about to happen. The sounds that build this song around the trumpet are all clean digital sci-fi shiny cool and smooth tones, these are the sounds that basically build all the album, they are the sounds that you must like a lot to dig the album. I do like them but after listening to them in each of the songs of the album I feel there’s a lack of contrast, or texture in it. Folding Traces is confined to these pallet of sounds. I like the songs individually, so if I hear them on a DJ set I’m sure I’ll enjoy them, but listening to them all together it feels like there’s no tension, no conflict, and they all melt too easily to the point the point that instead of nine tracks you might be feeling is just one very long one.
There is strong sci-fi vibe all around the album, one of the moments in Folding Traces is the fourth track, “未来主义宣言（节选）Manifesto of Futurism,” which is cool to hear, and because the sound of it is made with the exact same tone of sound that governs the album it passes by as a smooth intermezzo. The shadow of Blade Runner and therefore of Vangelis is very noticeable in each of the songs, but especially in this one, with the rain and the simple keys opening the story.
“来自荒漠 From The Desert Remix” has a phrase that will remind you of cowboys, but then the same phrase will appear in a different tone in the next track “暮色余晖 Anticrepuscular Rays” and some other phrase of the same style is there around the previous one too “黄昏之光 Crepuscular Rays,” the three tracks maybe are together to create a chapter in the album, but because of the strong similarity in sounds and melodies and over all vibe to me they pass by as a long trail that takes strength of the songs instead of making them more powerful by being together.
The final moment of the album comes with the last track “ 墨尔本日光 Melbourne Sunlight” that I feel is the most interesting track in all the album, it has silences and space in it, the sound of the guzheng and the recorded voices bring warmth and texture to the overly clean space that existed until then, and there’s mystery in its cadence and cacophony. All the other tracks are great to be played in DJ sets, to be danced in clubs and parties, but I believe “ 墨尔本日光 Melbourne Sunlight” is the one that has more soul in it. And “情感入口 Entrance to My Emotions” is the next one in that line.
Folding Traces is not easy to process if you like to reflect on the music you are listening to. I feel that its weakness is that it could pass by ears that won’t notice the end and the beginning of each of its tracks, even though the beginning, the middle, and the end of the album are marked. I think that if these songs wouldn’t be together in one album they would be much stronger, I’m sure that if I hear them played loud live and not together I will enjoy them a lot, however the experience of listening to Folding Traces in one session is not compelling.
The release party for Folding Traces will be at Dada this Friday, April 29th.