Thomas Ragsdale – Bait

Posted: 9 October 2015 in Albums

Thomas Ragsdale – Bait

This is it Forever – TIIF022

Christopher Nosnibor

Thomas Ragsdale may be better known as one half of worriedaboutsatan and Ghosting Season – two acts with the same lineup, but subtly different emphases. The solo projects of Thomas and collaborator in sound, Gavin Miller, seemingly prize apart the elementary faces of the two projects to forge sounds that are distinct and individual, while retaining a certain recognisability. Moreover, their independent works do not feel to be in any way a diminishment of their collective output.

For the most part, Bait – a film score to an indie thriller – is quiet, ponderous, reflective in mood and tone, as slowly turning mist-like synths entwine like a science documentary’s visual representation of a helix of DNA. Distant piano notes gently prod and roll, melancholy, evoking a yearning for the post-rock peak of a decade past, but also hinting at neoclassical filtered through a gauze of contemporary avant-gardism and the dichotomous relationship between digital and analogue.

At times, the music feels tentative, so quiet as to be barely present. Of course, in a filmic context this makes perfect sense. But as a standalone album release? In an age of noise – it’s impossible to walk down the street without being bombarded by a million conversations, or so sit on a train without a babble of mobile phone conversations and the bleed of earphones and the sound of someone watching a film on their tablet – such near silence feels daring. It’s almost as though Ragsdale is standing, surrounded by synths and laptops, turning the volume low and reveling in the dead air while challenging the world to shut the fuck up, just for a moment, and hear these notes as they blow in the wind. To take note of the subtle reverb, that faint crackle of distortion, that rumble of low-end noise like a storm eight miles away.

Bait is by no means an album that grabs you by the throat and shakes you about in order to demand your attention: quite the opposite, in fact. And it’s because of this quiet confidence in its capacity to conjure mood and exist in a truly ambient capacity that Ragsdale triumphs. You’ve read the review bait: now take the hook.

Thomas Ragsdale – Bait Online

Thomas Ragsdale - Bait


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