I debated whether or not I should write about Vylet Pony’s Aura. I love talking about her work as much as I enjoy listening to it. But Aura is a prelude to an upcoming work. Specifically Super Pony World Fairytails, the latest in a long-running series of concept albums from the Oregon based artist.
My thinking was that I should wait until SPWF came out. But I’ve listened to it so many times since it dropped on May 10th, so I think it deserves a review.
Aura comprises six instrumental pieces. Overall, they’re ambient soundscapes. Opening track “We worked so hard to leave Equestria and now all I want is to go back” (great title) sets the standard. By which I mean it’s simply beautiful.
This song is gorgeous. What I love most about it, is what it’s led me to expect from SPWF. The title implies a storyline similar to 2019’s Homeward. An epic journey, an odyssey, spurred by a yearning for home.
Musically “We worked…” signals how different it could be tonally. Homeward took in a lot of musical styles, but overall it was forceful and heavily electronic; including EDM, dubstep, flashes of nu-metal and more. SPWF on the other hand, will likely be more elegant.
“We worked…” glides effortlessly into “Aura”. There are more pronounced chords, but it maintains the smooth, dreamy quality of the opener. It’s at this point that it became very clear that the new album won’t be like Homeward, nor the dark-psychodrama that was Love Letters: Colourless.
I expect that SPWF will fit into Vylet’s tradition of eclectic genre-hopping. Though Aura hints that the variety will come more subtly. Take “The child who dreamt it all”. It’s a little more energetic. It’s playful, teasing even. Yet it does get trippy towards the end, with distortion cutting in that promotes a sense of something ominous approaching.
“There” would sit perfectly on a chillwave, study playlist, were it not for the hand-organ that runs through it at points. Things build it to a really sweet little rhythm and some gentle, if somewhat erratic, marimba notes. Then there’s some dreamy guitar in the middle.
Aura ends with a “Morse code version” of track three “Do you remember the song she sang”. Both versions fit into the ambient, soundscape mold. What’s interesting about their presence on Aura is that they speak to one of the things I love most about Vylet’s work. She encourages you to do more than simply listen.
If I wasn’t so lazy, I’d take the time to decipher the morse code. Regardless I still found myself motivated to switch back and forth between each version. Trying to tease out how the absence or inclusion affects the song, and also my impressions of what SPWF could be like.
I get excited whenever new work from Vylet Pony appears on the horizon. Aura is a great teaser, but also a fine work in its own right. And for my part, its softer nature reminded me of the very first record of her’s I heard, Old Heroes. I value this just as much as anything else Aura has to offer. Because when it comes to Vylet’s work, the journey is what matters the most.
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