Instrumental pop music is all about establishing a mood, and if there’s one producer/songwriter that I’ve listened to in the last couple of months who knows how to do this better than most of his peers in the international underground do, it’s Sebastian Lightfoot. Lightfoot’s new single, “Ascension,” is a song steeped in moodiness, starting with the instrumental melodic ribbonry used to tie its gorgeous tonal substance together. At once, our leading man can both throw himself at the mercy of the implicit harmony and control its very direction, drawing together the feeling of internal conflict like few other players at his experience level can. He’s got immense natural talent, and it’s producing some really chill moments in this track.
There’s absolutely nothing rushed about the delivery of these beats, and I would even say that Lightfoot is making a point of pacing the groove out to follow the percussion rather than the other way around. His greatest attribute as a performer is his ability to imply emotions without spelling them out in black and white, which is something that some of his contemporaries both in and outside of the underground scene at home as well as abroad have been struggling with in the past few years. He’s got a lot of confidence coming into every moment of melodic charm he’s presenting to the audience here, and a big part of that has to do with his stylizing everything from the rhythm to the textures that adorn them around what he knows he can do better than the rest of his peer group.
The string play is quite honestly the most powerful part of this single outside of Lightfoot’s own arranging, and I think its presence changes how we’re interpreting the larger narrative at hand. I think that if this arrangement had more of a traditional, almost neo-symphonic feel, I think we might not have been able to appreciate just how much soul this guy is putting up from either side of the beat. His directing is only the tipping point to the passion in this piece; when isolated, every element of the master mix is contributing something bold and colorful to the big picture in “Ascension,” which isn’t something I’ve seen from any of the other indie singles making a splash with critics and fans this April.
You can’t go wrong with the harmonies Sebastian Lightfoot designs in “Ascension,” and if there’s anything we can gather from the ambitiousness of the songwriting at hand in this single, it’s that we aren’t listening to a one-hit-wonder by any measurement. Lightfoot is an artist very much in the process of coming into his own, and if he’s able to continue with the delicate pop sensibilities he’s manipulated so marvelously in this performance, I believe he’s going to find himself the subject of increasing hype and interest from both the media and those who simply love good pop music. “Ascension” is a vulnerable taste of his talents, and a song I plan on spinning well into the rest of 2023.