Saturday, 7 April 2012
The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster is an unlikely inspiration for any record, not least an Ambient one. Theorising how to convert a theme of such destruction, with a genre renowned for a neatening calm seems conflicting. But beneath surface of James Clements' (aka ASC) & Sam KDC's first Ambient record for Auxiliary, is a contrasting dichotomy for optimism through disturbance.
In a first time listen to "Decayed Society", cataclysm "Block 4" shines. Like a rewiring of Christian Fennesz and "Static"-era Godspeed, contaminating hiss spills through the speakers. Melody poses obtusely grandiose. It's as if "Decayed Society" was ghostwritten by a sincere desire to help those choked by grief in their lives. Unwravelling the richly layered seven track construct, prescience of not only strength in numbers, but digestibility of content is clearly beneficial. As is the fine line between obviousness and informed understanding of past events - all titles, including the gloomy "Lost Negatives", with its sonar synthesizer sharpness, tie in with the thematic details of Chernobyl.
This is more than pseudo-intellectual posturing, though. Those delving into the back catalogue of Clements, and specifically his second label Auxiliary, will be familiar with the "Symbol" series. There, each Electronica instalment is inclined to give one a certain mood; and a correspondence, ultimately, that an idea can be art. Marcel Duchamp's 1917 work "Fountain", a urinal with a name written on it, was more than pissing in the wind when superimposing meaning directness with contemporary artwork. For Clements and KDC with Chernobyl, contextual reworking gives a sprightly transference of expectations.
If you like, "Decayed Society" can be listened to as a retro-analysis coolant; a removing of decay heat from your own reactor. The finale "No Safety Zone" really caps the emotion levels present in all pieces. Gorgeous Grouper-esque harmonic residue warms the heart, sanitising the feel of impending catastrophe that surrounds the impetus. There's a firm rotational energy of elements between each track, snippets of string and piano to diversify the potentiality, and enough water in the well; immersion from depth being quintessential to "Decayed Society", Clements, KDC, and their success.
Order through Subvert Central