A Rest Is All You Need…

Praise for Blossoms + Broken English
September 10, 2010, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Two recent killer reviews for two of our recent CDR releases on Textura.org and Mess + Noise. Both are still available and can be purchase via the links below:

Shoeb Ahmad – Blossoms (available here)

In what appears to be somewhat of a departure from his customary approach, hellosQuare label head Shoeb Ahmad trades in his usual guitar and computer treatments on Blossoms for a fusion of heavy minimalist drone and raga-based North Indian classical musical forms. Recorded live in January 2010, Ahmad’s first release in two years finds him deploying electronic tanpura box, electronic tabla, percussion, voice, pedals, and Bengali field recordings in the service of an eight-part suite of evocative character and forceful design. There’s a personal dimension to the release too, as Blossoms documents Ahmed exploring the cultural heritage of his family in musical form.
The album title is well-chosen as the music does in fact blossom, with the second part’s long tones awakening slowly as they draw their first breaths before bells signal the activities of the advancing day. Tablas and sitar-like tones swim through the fifth part’s hazy mix, lulling the listener into a temporary trance in the process. Everything culminates in the penultimate seventh when electronic tones and washes drench the listener for a dozen pulsating and sometimes turbulent minutes. One of the things that distinguishes the album’s music most is the ease with which it straddles modern and traditional time frames; often, for example, ancient drones intone amidst the punctuation of electronic textures. Contrast emerges in the presence of both meditative and rhythm-based parts, and Ahmad has sequenced the album effectively too in alternating one-minute interludes (often field recordings) with long-form sections. Blossoms‘ forty-one-minute running time feels just about right as well. (Ron SchepperTextura.org)

Scissor Lock – Broken English (available here)

The human voice is louder than ever. What it can achieve with digital cosmetics is nearly boundless, but molding it into poignant shapes remains an elusive goal. Scissor Lock – Sydneysider Marcus Whale – has sculpted two versions of his own voice. One version sings a song, the other invokes its containing world. On Broken English, his second vocal-only release, these two worlds collide, with the resulting big bang playing the starring role.
Digital processing can turn any source into a perennial drift, a truth we’ve reached after a decade’s deluge of private press drone recordings. But sound and tone for its own sake needn’t be opaque and it needn’t be formal. Mutating the voice is easy, as Whale demonstrates, but how to disembody the voice and maintain its soul, when there’s no other source against which it can be contrasted? Broken English is too arresting to be ambient music but too sedate to be pop. It’s unassertive in both respects. These four texturally dependent pieces are contagious, dramatic, often lyrical, but the result is that neither itch can be satisfactorily scratched. There’s the subliminal essence of a song in each of these long passages: the sense of a real voice struggling against a tumult of sound and information. In this way it’s redolent of shoegaze divorced from that genre’s restrained rock bravado. Something is burrowing from beneath.
But the absence of a payoff for listeners expecting either/or, means that Broken English inhabits its own faded space. The audible lyrics are simple illustrative phrases, typically depicting hills, seas, supernatural glows. There’s always a direct correlation between sound and word, in the way murmurs crash against the shore, or aspirant falsettos climb to the top of a hill. In this way, maybe Broken English is about as fashionable as a landscape painting. It transplants narrative with image and presents a kind of pastoral nostalgia, the sadness of a generation staring at its own artificial Polaroids. All these layered voices culminate in a muted and disorientated sigh, and you understand. (Shaun PrescottMess+Noise)


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: