Photo courtesy of the Planetary Group

Rhian Sheehan’s “The Absence of You” Mourns in Subtle Moonlight (premiere)

Rhian Sheehan's latest composition could just as well decorate a slice of sci-fi cinema as it could his forthcoming album as it wraps listeners in a gentle, ethereal despair.

Due 5 October, Rhian Sheehan aims to develop original cinematic compositions with his forthcoming album, A Quiet Divide. Striking somewhere between a cosmic, cerebral filling-in of space and a heartfelt warmth, the acclaimed New Zealand composer sifts through a grab-bag of electronic, chamber, and post-rock elements to craft his ethereal worlds. It is Sheehan’s fifth overall album release since his debut, Paradigm Shift, marked itself as a major release in New Zealand’s electronica landscape. As always, it is an album that dignifies Sheehan’s idealism to not rest on his laurels, instead arranging another wholly new realm of sound to designate to his portfolio.

“The Absence of You” is one such composition that will make its mark in A Quiet Divide. It is an arrangement that lives up to the name of the album it’s placed on, composed with the idea of a gentle, but passionate despair in mind. The track mourns as it intertwines with shimmering moonlight, enveloping listeners with an empathetic sense of warmth amidst its more spacial leanings. It could just as well decorate a great slice of sci-fi cinema as it could A Quiet Divide, and therein Sheehan establishes his brilliance.

Sheehan tells PopMatters, “Originally the track was in a very different form. I’d jotted down a rough idea on piano, and it was much slower. When I began working on the new record, I rediscovered the original idea and completely reworked it into something quite different, adding strings and more movement. The resulting piece for piano, Moog, and chamber strings, is more focused and passionate than my original sketch. I’m always sketching ideas on the piano, or guitar, and many of these ideas never see the light of day again, so it’s nice when an old idea helps spark off a new one.”