NON PHOTO BLUE “Dépaysement” C40 (Amek Collective)


When Daniel Donchov, aka Non Photo Blue, feels out of sorts, out of place, he can really get to the heart of it. In his recordings he taps into unfathomable emotions with remarkable insight, laying bare the frayed nerves of missed connections and lost attachments while blanketing it all in an effervescent mist of synthesizer tones and gentle field recordings. His work is depressingly ambient, yet it manages to plant the seeds of hope and fertilize their growth with a wisdom gleaned from heartbreaking experience. In us, the listeners, is cultivated a sense that with each passing trauma or tribulation there exists the spark of healing and renewal. It’s the grief that keeps on giving.
Dépaysement is the sound of longing, then, of being far from home in an unfamiliar land and allowing the anxiety of it to overwhelm you. And that’s where it comes from, with Donchov traveling through several U.S. states during the wild and wistful autumn before our immaculate quarantine. The Netherlands-based Donchov is clearly inspired by the change of seasons, but just as that change portends winter, so too does Donchov drift into melancholy as he seemingly longs for home while upon foreign soil. And to think that I can’t even imagine the America that Donchov was able to see, let alone what it’s become – there is so much unrecognizable about it, so much tragedy upon it. Surely that’s not to place its plight above anyone else’s on a list of importance, but it still weighs heavily on the mind.
Donchov’s Dépaysement weighs heavily on the heart, but with the glimmering blue hope of a light at the end of a long and lonely tunnel. Here’s to that: to something bigger than us that we can latch onto, that we can turn our focus to and embrace with a collective affinity. But still, it’s the dark moments like those on Dépaysement that get us through, that cast everything into stark relief. The darkness is important too.
Sounds like an Amek release, doesn’t it? You’d be right about that.