ALBUM REVIEW: daysdeaf -- When Colour Lost Light

Manvir Rai is daysdeaf, but far from days deaf. In fact, his marketing slogan and signoff, “some music stays with you and leaves you deaf for days” is quite misleading. Rai, who hails from Brampton, Ontario, specializes in electronic watercolours, not bone-gnashing grind metal. If his latest, When Colour Lost Light, leaves listeners deaf, it’s not from loudness or fuzz; it’s the audiovisual clarity that arises from the lack thereof.

His colourbomb video for "Giving Life to Greys” is a fantastic visual introduction to the album. “The process involved using a ten-gallon fish tank and mixture of acrylic inks, food dye, and pigment,” he says. The video, like the album, is an experiment in timbre. “The album song titles work as a gradient. Starting from white, the songs are then ordered in the form of the electromagnetic spectrum, then moving to phenomena of light. We identify with colours, but our colour is always temporary, moving from one to the next.”

“Giving Life to Greys,” then, is the third song on the record, following “White Flags” and “Silver (oh Mercury!),” which open When Colour Lost Light on a minimalist blues/jazz note. “White Flags” has the sound of Air France and Signal Hill merging on a freeway at dawn, then somewhere in “Silver (oh Mercury!),” they pick up a vocal hitchhiker. Further along the spectrum, “Purple Thrills” adds a hip-hop beat, creating a smoky post-R&B atmosphere akin to Blood Orange and Frank Ocean. By “Chasing Green,” Rai is spitting verse, and rather greenly, I daresay.

A more laudable effort can be heard on “redREd,” a horror story of sorts with a spooky wavering string ostinato and “Thriller”-style screams. Here, Rai’s caught you “red-handed in the act, check check. […] This ain’t a fucking masquerade, check check check.” With “Iridescent,” “CMY,” and “Light,” When Colour Lost Light comes full circle, returning to its only seemingly colourless start, floating. Its feet don’t touch the ground.