While Pacific K decided to take a creative break as a band, Kristaps Bedritis, their songwriter, was hit with a wave of creativity and passion for playing solo. This resulted in a re-imagining of some of the band’s songs from their LP Light Between Oceans. Stripping back their melodics to just a guitar, minimalistic beats and vocals, he created the aptly titled EP Light Variations.
Using the stripped-back sound, Bedritis is able to open a new world of tone and meaning to the four tracks of the EP. The exploration of sound bolsters the interplay of light and dark that the band has become known for. While the rich and colourful sound of the band has captured the heart of many listeners, this minimalistic EP brings each track into a new light that will spark joy in listeners old and new.
The EP opens with ‘White Wanderer’ which is the track that started the exploration of sound that is this collection. The drums have an earthy feeling while the guitar plucks over them like the dawning of a new day. The vocals continue the earthy feeling of the drums with a touch of traditional folk songs coming through. The stripped-back melodics enhances the depth of the lyrics while adding a new edge of poignancy to the vibes. Through the single, there is a touch of mist to the music while the vocals are an earthen path leading you into the wood of the track. It is a beautiful and touching way to start the EP.
‘Hold Your Gaze’ has a very different feeling through the vibrations of the opening. The vocals are more paced and build a sense of strength in your chest. There is a forward rolling movement to the music that pulls you into the adventure of life. The guitars build the tension of the track that you feel slowly increasing in your chest and shoulders. As with the opening track, the minimalistic arrangement enhances the messaging of the single and allows the emotions to hit harder. Through the building of the melody, you do feel that there is something good waiting at the end of the tunnel which perfectly captures the vibes of the band.
The beats that open ‘Cave’ have you swaying with them while the guitar line leads you into the track. There is a heavier folk feeling to this track that makes you think of someone playing this track on their porch while the rain gently patters down. There is a melancholic vibe to the song that really comes through on the vocals which bring a light country twang. The movement of the melody has you floating while the vocals are a line you can hold onto that draw you into the message of the track. The vocals do have a heavy feeling of regret woven into them that works really well with the arrangement of the guitar.
The EP comes to a close with ‘Solace’ which slowly awakening into a vibrating guitar. There is a tenderness to the opening line that makes you want to reach out and touch it. The vocals are like a confession through the first verse. This is extremely emotive and tugs at your heartstrings. The interplay between the vocals and the guitar is utterly beautiful and make you want to close your eyes to take everything in.
Pacific K strip back their music to enhance the sounds and poignancy of the interplay between light and dark in Light Variations. While an exploration of sound for songwriter Bedritis, the minimalistic arrangements enhance the emotional hits of the track. Each is as touching and beautiful as the last with an emotional message that hits you in the chest.