FTAL021 - December 2013
Various Artists - Sequence 7
Futuresequence Bandcamp Free DL
"Beautiful" is an overused hyperbole-ace in internet journalism, but Michael Waring's Futuresequence 7 compilation demands it. I initially listened to the release in two blocks of 15 tracks each, and found this perfectly fitted pacing of the whole record. First emotional curveball "A Mist Of Grey Light" by Siavash Amini is rich in the textural hues of A Winged Victory Of The Sullen, but goes further than morose, tanning the flesh of 70s Western soundscapes in cinematic territory. Not just choosing a colour that suits your enivronment, then. Instead, Sequence 7 is chock-full of surprises, like the piano and string accompaniments of Good Weather For An Airstrike's "Tides", that flutters with a steadfast drive. Elsewhere, the emotive "Emori IV" by EUS perfectly compliments the sombre, leaf-treading nature of autumnal mystery that surrounds the release. Overall, it's a complete, recommendable package representing a chunk of new and upcoming artists on and off experimental music.
Slow Walkers - Slow Walkers
Peak Oil LP / DL
As separate personas, Liz Harris and Lawrence English's music has never been confuted with misery. Instead, it relies on solemnity of delivery and patient investment. Their sound as Slow Walkers is permeated by a straddling of outlay with verging into the morose. Take "Wake", the paradoxically-to-title morbid album closer. In unhurried fashion, Harris and English stretch out swathes of guitar reverb into a dense drone. The pacing of the entire work is resolutely sluggish and positively transluscent, like a swan picking up bread from the lakeside but avoiding the hounds of attack that walk in these paths. Through an absence of foreseen optimism in sound, the duo bore holes in the well of ambient music's depth, with a shoegaze bent underpinning. This work never reaches beyond the pace of ice floe, and all the better for it; the transcendental introspection of these producers has yielded much great music over the last decade but in "Slow Walkers", Harris and English manage to convey an accurate biopic of their individual talents as songwriters, and most of all, musicians.
36 - Heather Spa
www.astrangelyisolatedplace.com EP DL
"Dangerous Days" comes close to the somnambulant swoon of Aphex Twin's classic "Rhubarb", while the leading title work is a lesson in restraint. "Heather Spa (Burning)" takes a more concentrated, concentric angle. Swirls of synth woozily lifts the listener. The speed is roughly 90 BPM, a rather uptempo slant on the preceding tracks. For the longest length of almost 16 minutes, this works suitably. 36 is no stranger to synth excursions where drones are lilting phrases, tugging at the attention span. His music reflects ambient's nature of relaxing its audience, but always keeping an undertow of mystery in the hold. His first release for the A Strangely Isolated Place blog, the "Places" series will soon see its first vinyl. If the quality is anything like these tracks, it'll be an essential purchase.