As soon as I heard the distant children noises and lush synth, this track had me hooked. The pans, the subtle drum rolls and the tilting, slowly head rolling, progression, Kevin Bryce has managed a masterpiece that will be sure to hit home with fans of nostalgic electronica.
Every child carries a creature fear growing up – whether it’s the bogeyman in the wardrobe, the monster under the bed, the stillness of a dark basement, overcoming that fear is rite of passage to growing up. Often it’s one beaten by exploration and curiosity, venturing beyond the insulated comfort zone to get confirmation, no matter how short the glimpse, that your world is safe and secure. For Kevin Bryce, his place inspired both terror and delight.
“The track was written about a park I used to go to when I was about 5-6 years old,” he reminisces, “I remember these trips to the park were a combination of fear and joy, the likes of which can only be experienced by the very young. There was a swing set there and directly across from the swings, there was a small patch of trees – small to an adult but to a small child, it was an impenetrable forest filled with all sorts of horrible things lurking just out of sight.”
The sense of the unknown is often stimulating and it gives ‘The Park By Franklin’ an uneasy, skirting energy. The sound of children playing gives it a happy innocence but there’s an atmosphere of detachment and a palpable sense of distraction. It should be a joyous, carefree place, buoyed by laughter, adventure and happy abandon but there’s an unsettling force at work.
“It seemed to always be deserted when we were there, and I would have the swings all to myself, although I could hear and see other children playing in the field nearby. As I would swing, I would stare off into the dark trees just beyond the clearing the swing set was in. There was always something unsettling about this memory. It always comes back as being strangely quiet and eerily calm.
I remember too there was a very clear separation between the forest and the clearing, the clearing always seemed quite bright and sunny, and the forest was always very, very dark, even in the middle of summer. I had forgotten the name of the park, but I asked my mom and she remembered it quite clearly. It used to be called Eton Park, but the name was changed at some point. It’s called Burnaby Heights Park now. Looking at it now, it’s kind of funny to think of how sinister it seemed to me at the time.”
The excitement of a visit to the park, tempered by the apprehension of the looming backdrop of the forest gives ‘The Park By Franklin’ a drifting disparity. Neither truly chilling nor truly comfortable, you can imagine sitting on that swing set, happily, excitedly pushing for all the height and momentum your growing body can muster, only to be reminded, on the rapid descent from the clouds, what lies in wait on the ground. “I realized that I actually never went into that forest,” he admits. Maybe I should.”