ANDERS HOLST & YANN COPPIER: Onomatopeia DL Clang
The press bumpf that came with this release, states that this is a collection of aggressive soundscapes created with live synth, programming and guitars; and as such, on paper, sounded right up my street.
As a whole, this isn’t bad at all. Without being as challenging as I first suspected, a lot of ‘Onomatopeia’ is ambient driven, regardless of the instrumentation utilised; and is for the most part, a quiet affair where nothing truly kicks off, so to speak.
This 9-tracker has its fair share of experimentalism; and this, directionally speaking, is where it falls short. When Holst and Coppier concentrate their efforts on outright atmosphere and ambience, they pretty much have it nailed down; with chasms of gritty peaks and troughs that stare upwards to the glassy air driven pads that float above them.
Nowhere near as aggressive as I first imagined; but a fairly interesting affair overall. There is little on here to be unhappy with for lovers of experimental ambience across all associated genres.
SUM OF R: Orga 2xLP/CD/DL Cyclic Law / Czar of Revelations
Switzerland’s Sum of R, have produced a slow string of releases since their inception in 2008; prevailing with a schedule that focuses on quality over quantity. To the outside viewer, it would be easy to take one look at this duo and assume they fall onto Dark Ambient territory; where in fact, this is just a utilised backdrop to fill out a pot of slow moving, bleak instrumentals.
Analogue sounds are carefully juxtaposed and given space to scratch at the surface of pads and orchestral influences, plying a web of desperation as bars rise and fall in an almost drip-fed fashion. The end result draws on a sea of morose soundscapes; that are as expansive as they are oppressively engulfing.
The key to any album of this nature; is balance. Sum of R are effective in providing great moments of beauty that tread a finely drawn path, shining a light on much of blackness that prevails within ‘Orga’. The end result; is a gloriously hypnotic album that falls to the depths of vast oceans at the pace of Sunn O))), with heaps more musicality.
JUXTAPOSITION: S/T CD/MC/DL Nakama Records
Frustrating and annoyingly pointless exercises such as this are all too commonplace nowadays. This Norwegian four-piece have a variety of instrumentation at their fingertips, yet have proceeded in producing a mash-up of nonsensical gibberish.
Bass lines that are just the odd note hammered out without rhyme nor reason, clattering percussive elements falling all over the place and badly cut up female warbling vocals; and that’s just a small part of the wreckage that is this self titled debut.
It’s 2017. People have only so much disposable income to spend on music these days; and they shouldn’t be wasting it on this talentless drivel.
ALESSIO SANTINI: Kenter EP CD/DL Elli Records
Textured and distorted guitar drones, heavily manipulated over live drums are far from a new concept; indeed, you could say the market is somewhat oversaturated. Focus on the producer of such works therefore, is to provide an individualist take on the genre; of which, Santini does for the most part.
This 16-minute extended player is just about the right length for me. With enough to make an impact on the listener without outstaying its welcome, as focus shifts from ambient textures to raucous displays of outright aggression at the drop of a hat.
All elements are swift and momentary to keep the attention span flowing well enough tolerate the obscure electronics that clatter haphazardly throughout. Indeed the singularly experimental tracks are solid enough to admirably carry enough weight individually.
Decent, but not exactly ground breaking, ‘Kenter’ is a neat little 4-tracker that solidly slots into the world of guitar noise with relative ease.
DEDEKIND CUT: The Expanding Domain EP 12”/MC/DL Hallow Ground
Subtle ambience and noise is blended here with the odd splice of Trance melodies that are haphazard and sporadically driven throughout the mix. As much of an odd combination as these sound on paper, they are executed with a drive and vigour that engages the listener from the off.
Harmony is paramount to the efficiency of sounds that are utilised throughout ‘The Expanding Domain’. An expansive soundtrack of emotions work well with the vocal samples and chiming chords that pad their way throughout ‘Lil Puffy Coat’, luring the listener into a false sense of security; before being ravaged by the distorted beat industrialism and stark contrast of ‘Fear in Reverse II’.
The title track rummages with PE sensibilities and is the most surprising of all the numbers on here; with a take on a genre that is like a breath of fresh air, cutting through the quagmire and stalemate that many of these artists fall into.
Ending with the resonating piano of ‘Das Expanded, untitled Riff’, coupled with orchestral pads and Orca drifting bass synth that floats into a plethora of 80’s sounds and Ambient; you can’t help but applaud an artist who toys with a multitude of genres and comes up trumps.
DISPLACER: Astral EP DL Section Records
Ever prolific, Canada’s Michael Morton has been exceptionally busy this year with a stacked release schedule; and this is his first for UK digital label ‘Section Records’.
Sci-Fi electronics permeate the EP, as expected from its title. Opening up with the rich pads and chimes of ‘Merge’, dancing across a sea of warm bass and sharp simplistic rhythms, these do indeed meld well into the emphatic title track, as if systematically paired as one.
The mid-way break comes in the form of ‘Extent’; devoid of beats and providing a colder edge to the proceedings, with a wash of glassy surfaces made sound.
The rhythms on the urgent ‘Hypersurface’ rattle and shake alongside carefully selected notes the bend and weave into an end point of clarity, only to flitter away into their own dimension; making space for the slower paced, but no less effective ‘Redshifted’.
Morton has here, sealed off a fair few releases that centralise themselves thematically around space and associated subjects. Once again, he has carefully constructed a collection of tracks that capture the very essence aurally, that most of us would envisage as the soundtrack to such concepts.
THISQUIETARMY: Democracy of Dust LP & CD/DL Midira Records
Looking through Eric Quach’s extensive back catalogue, I am really surprised I haven’t encountered his works before, by the sheer volume of his output in his relatively short tenure.
Blending synth, guitar and other analogue instrumentation, Montreal’s Quach recorded this in residency at Sao Paulo’s Dissenso Studio; and indeed the city itself seems to be the main impetus, thematically as a whole for this release.
Rumbling hypnotic bass lines keep pace over a staggered rhythm section whilst guitars interweave between distorted chords and high resonating drones. ‘Democracy of Dust’ is a cohesive and well thought out release that is well constructed for the most part; where each track could be viewed as the sum of one larger track. This is as much a blessing as it is a hindrance though, with some songs fading out and feeling a tad unfinished. I would personally just have made each track longer and incorporated the smaller pieces into the fold.
Overall though, this is a decent interpretation of the genre, even if Eric lays far too many of his cards on the table; resulting in an album that doesn’t comfortably know where it sits in the grand scheme of things, experimentally speaking.