Displacement is a word with many connotations. It may simply refer to movement, or it might refer to movement from some original place of designation; moved out of the way, really. It is perhaps this meaning of displacement that I’d like to hold fast to and elaborate upon. Displacement is the phantom feeling of recognizing something as not being there, seeing traces and clues of a presence that may have never been, and unless given some evidence of a positive existence, I have nothing concrete to stand upon. My sense of knowing the world is displaced.
This idea of displacement is what I’d like to apply to the newest release from the Field Music production company, The Week That Was, specifically the rhythmic composition throughout the album. From the various rhythms throughout the album, I take a distinct feeling of displacement, starting at the very beginning. The lead-in to “Learn to Learn,” the first track, is a precise drum pattern that holds a rest before each repetition of the pattern. In this rest however, I recognize something missing, some part of the rhythm that seems as if it were chopped off and somehow discarded, put away from view of my seeing ears and eyes see the faint shadow of notes that were supposed to be. But there is no music in the rest; there is simply silence. I am left with a rhythm sounding preempted, pulling me into the progression as its already halfway completed.
This is what makes these songs so compelling though. Due to my belief of music in the rest, I am perpetually anticipating. I am holding my breath as the percussion tumbles downward, falling into the track. Soon the rhythms layer, and pieces take the places of empty spaces I’d once had faith in, and maybe I still do (I don’t know). I can still see it, the displacement, hear it, hearing nothing against the precise beats and strums of guitar and violins humming high and low. The perfection strived for and achieved (perfection in a modest sense, that is, the goal of a perfectionist) begins to overpower my attention to the finer thing (the finest thing) because each drum is struck as if each such action has a purpose, each chord destined for something. The rhythms fit together without so much a space of misplaced silence left to question the integrity of the melodies building as they do in “Come Home,” lifting and raising with each repeated step of rhythm. Each note played, too, they all sound with the highest fidelity to themselves to make each song all the more conquering, supersede all that I attend to. Precision, perfection, adjectives ascribed to positive existence, whereas the silence exists negatively, feeding into the positive, feeding the anticipating listener to the song.
The skill with which The Week That Was uses silence to complement and augment their crystal clear production values is what is most appealing about this album. The instruments do not sound against the silence, but with it.