Things I’ll Never Say is Cork producer Gadget and the Cloud’s (GATC) latest project since 2018’s Songs For Sad People To Dance To. Her skilfulness as an experimental electronic artist with an ability to explore feelings and moments with a blend of compassion and astuteness has seen her garnering acclaim in Cork and far beyond. In a world where we’re encouraged to constantly strive and move forward and succeed, TINS sees GATC investigating the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in moments of stasis.
Opening track ‘Quiescence’ sees soft, dreamlike synths build into a dynamic, glittering portrait of hope. Each sound, however miniscule, builds into an overall sensation of finding yourself taking a breath in the midst of chaos. The rising synth motifs as well as the subtle, pulsing beat towards the end of the song gives hope; that this feeling of ennui is not static, only temporary.
‘Keep You’ communicates the bravery of looking for hope. The distant, muffled sentiment of ‘What you give, you can never get back.’ is ominous, as if the effort to move against the stream of negativity and seek joy is futile. Bursting into intense, layered beats, the repeated ascending synth motif feels like an aural metaphor to keep going. ‘Keep You’ takes you through the breathless efforts of grasping at moments of happiness when life becomes frantic and overwhelming.
Moving into ‘Ten Past Three’, a more sinister tone pervades. It skips and slips and sighs, combining into this almost-anthropomorphous thing. It is too dynamic to be labelled gloomy. Its strength is not something that can be wrestled against by the listener, just like those moments of helplessness. Whistling, eerie synths that seem to disintegrate into thin air, coupled with both scratching and thumping beats swirl into almost a non-moment; a snatched hope, a vanished conclusion.
Closing track ‘It Never Felt Right’ is sparkling and searing, building into something that feels bigger than the listener. Initial layered, ambient synths and subdued crickets and birdsong fade as heavenly synths and a softly thrumming beat swell into the climax of the song. As it softens to a close, ethereal sustained notes couple the return of birdsong. ‘It Never Felt Right’ is its own story, a complete entity in itself.
GATC has expert control over tension and atmosphere. The soundscapes she builds have strong foundations in feeling, experience. They are so well-composed that there is almost a physical tactility to them, such is their wholeness. Cyclical reflections draw the mind to dwell on those universal moments of fear and aimlessness. Experimental and uncompromising in sound, TINS welcomes the listener into a space of compassion and learning.
It is introspective without being insular or exclusive. GATC gives sound and space to the ebbs that live in counterbalance with the flows of life; the feelings of hopelessness and being overwhelmed. These are not shied away from, rather they are softly scrutinised and brought into a light of their own, where others can see and know that someone else has felt what they have. Things I’ll Never Say truly speaks to what it is to be human, bones and all.