JAMES WELBURN: Hold LP/CD Miasmah Recordings
Abrasive drones and static open up this debut album by Welburn, with grinding bass providing a low-end punch to the rhythmical patterns courtesy of Tony Buck (The Necks). Gradually building like a pressure cooker, wave upon wave of pads ascend as ‘Naught’, in a punishing Dark Ambient mass of glorious oppressive weight and noise that cannot be denied.
‘Peak’ in contrast, starts high-end, accompanying a subtle bass-line providing the draw as the pads steadily fold and tumble down into a sea of ambient guitar. Light percussion assists the progression, as a breezing wash of air dissipates into the ether.
The up-tempo punkish blast of ‘Shift’, changes the album’s momentum once more; and whilst being a tad muggy, bends the head in this albums never ending ability to twist and turn on a dime; and makes more sense come the ever-so Swans-like ‘Transience’.
For the final two numbers, Welburn concentrates his efforts on staggered rhythms and guitar noise with ‘Duration’ (that is a complete riot from start to finish); only to be tempered by the solid wall of Dark Ambient that is the title track.
In total there isn’t a bad song on this album (not one). Cohesive and well constructed, Welburn manages to keep the listener on their toes from start to finish with a generous variation of ability and sound throughout. Without doubt this is one of the better releases to drop through my door in some time, with a culmination of genres that sit perfectly as bedfellows. Hunt this down at all costs.