Listening to the shadowy, crepuscular compositions on Jon Gooch’s murmuring chasms of nostalgia, it’s hard to fathom this is the same guy behind a screeching dance hit called “I Do Coke.” After developing a reputation for brain-splattering drum’n’bass under the moniker Spor, the British producer migrated to the realm of commercial EDM in the late 2000s as Feed Me, releasing big, garish dubstep through deadmau5’s mau5trap label and remixing AWOLNATION and Gorillaz. But nonstop raging takes an emotional toll, so Gooch came up with a project that’d serve as a personal diary: “Music is always a release for me but with seventh stitch it’s a world I can breathe in,” he said in January.
Teased for years, the resulting EP by seventh stitch attempts to reveal a sensitive, ruminative side of Gooch. More consciously tasteful than his bass-wobbling bangers, it’s a collection of eerie downtempo songs with wispy titles that gesture to what’s hidden in the recesses of memory: “the last day you stayed” and “the sound of tennis shoes on concrete.” One reference is the phantom rave-pop of Everything But the Girl, with their yearning, world-wearied vocals and sputtering beats; another is the crackly, greyscale ruminations of Burial. Opener “who are you waiting for” is like a tormented, after-hours sprint through barren streets, cold wind blowing you into a dark unknown.
Though ostensibly a more intimate project, murmuring chasms of nostalgia can still feel impersonal; the billowing light-up synths at the end of “tin pear” conjure a generic sense of alienation, the reeling thoughts of a drunk person in a festival crowd who still feels alone. Sometimes Gooch tries to shortcut to depth, like on the closer, where a muffled voicemail from an unknown woman plays over muted piano and whispery beats for a full minute. This scrapbook approach has been deployed to the point of cliché in popular music; here, as in many instances, the sampled material lacks the specificity or context to seem significant.
But midpoint highlight “idle thumbs” disrupts the EP’s moody haze, snapping you awake with bright, chiming tones and a syncopated rhythm. The most interesting parts of murmuring chasms of nostalgia are its spooky and tactile details, as in the case of “the red book,” where hospital monitor beeps, mechanized whirring, and serpentine wails evoke a subterranean lab experiment gone awry; on “hearts beat for,” insect flutters meet trickling liquid that sounds disturbingly like snot. While the EP is not without moments of triteness, it still occasionally manages to be spectral and enveloping.