Fellirium is the musical alias of Andrey Vasilyev, a quietly prolific musician and sound sculptor from Moscow, Russia. A common motif in his work is the musical articulation of emotions inspired by well-defined themes, something that works particularly well in a new series he has just completed, a trilogy of long-form pieces elucidating the depths and shades of meaning behind three essentially untranslatable expressions – ‘sehnsucht’ (German), ‘saudade’ (Portugese), and ‘mono no aware’ (Japanese). Each represents a profound and complex emotional state that perhaps music is best suited to convey and Vasilyev does a beautiful job of it in these thoughtfully constructed and expressive meditations.
Sehnsucht is a German noun translated as “longing”, “pining”, “yearning”, or “craving”, or in a wider sense a type of “intensely missing”….Sehnsucht represents thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for ideal alternative experiences. It has been referred to as “life’s longings”; or an individual’s search for happiness while coping with the reality of unattainable wishes.”
Electric guitar features prominently on this ruminative piece which uses warmly resonant, reverb-drenched intonations to voice the intensity of longing, emulating its cyclical nature with a sweeping refrain that repeatedly surges and ebbs away in a tide-like rhythm giving this piece a distinctively oceanic feel. Over repeated listens many different focal points and textures emerge as percussive taps & scrapes across the wire strings and eloquent arpeggios lap against each other. The listener stands on the shore looking out across the expanse knowing resolution lies just beyond the unreachable horizon…
“Saudade is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves…Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone.”
Plaintive tones of seemingly infinite sustain hang in the air like a lament while more visceral emotions are expressed in feverish, incandescent guitar lines that are scratched out as much as strummed or plucked. This juxtaposing of tender melancholy and raw emotion captures the complexity and profundity of saudade and makes for a captivating and moving piece of music.
Mono No Aware
“Mono no aware, literally “the pathos of things”, and also translated as “an empathy toward things”, or “a sensitivity to ephemera”, is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence, or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life”
Compared with the others, Mono no aware is a more abstract concept, something as philosophical as emotional and so, fittingly, the style of this piece is more fluid and ethereal in nature as shimmering oscillations arc across a backdrop of lush synthesizers that slowly rotate in swirling eddies. The trilogy thus ends on a note that leaves the listener contemplative rather than bereft.