On his sixth release, Transcend With Time (aka Mark Mendieta) blends New Age music with themes of “isolation, frustration & despair.” While the results aren’t quite as sad as that may sound, When Emotions Fade does pack its share of melancholy, but its contemporary instrumental framework, tempered with a bit of post-rock in places, is solid and pleasant to listen to. Mendieta is equally adept on guitar and keys, so the disc switches focus easily. The piano takes the front on the touching ballad “Somber Rains,” supported by string pads. I love the tone of the piece, rich with a sense of longing, but I could have done without the rain sound the start. It’s not a bad thing, so much, but the way it cuts out suddenly doesn’t sit well with me. Aside from that, Mendieta’s playing pulls me right in. The guitar is at its best in the spotlight on the post-rock-flavored pieces. “Dreary Conclusions” has a bit of a shoegaze overtone, minor chords and a slightly dragging beat that stirs up some sympathy. “The Disappearance” sounds like it could break into a Metallica song at any moment. It’s got that metal-ballad finger-picked run-up going on. It’s the post-rock pieces that work best for me on When Emotions Fade. They feel more honest and they’re downright catchy. Speaking of which, the slight jazz flair of the Spanish guitar in “When Mystery Arises” is perhaps the most hook-laden thing here–and may also be the one piece that belies the whole isolation, etc., theme. How can you be in despair when you’re snapping your fingers to such a funky time signature?
When Emotions Fade opens a bit too lightly for me, but soon blossoms into a listen that’s worth repeat visits. Superb musicianship, an honest feel, and a very fine blend of styles pave the way.
Available from Bandcamp.