Posts Tagged ‘Dense’

Avalyn formed in late 2021 after long-time friends Andy Power (Guitar & Vocals) and Ben Croft (Lead Guitar) decided to start writing together due to them both being dissatisfied with their previous musical efforts. Soon joined by Cain Garcia (Drums) and Emily Turnbull (Bass & Vocals), the band appeared all over their local music scene in 2021, including playing their first gig supporting Junodream alongside Lime Garden at The Shipping Forecast in Liverpool, as well as going into Whitewood Recording Studio with Robert Whiteley to record their latest offering.

Influenced by the great punk powerhouses, Avalyn takes their cues from the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Lush. What emerges is the ferociously uplifting sound that can be heard on the group’s latest track; ‘When We Were Nothing’, out 24th March. Featuring mastering work from the Lead Singer & Guitarist of the seminal 90s Shoegazing band RIDE, Mark Gardener, the track melds brooding experimentalism, with an unshakeable punk sound. Thrashing guitars play under Power’s haunting vocals, as he sings about the euphoric uncertainty that comes with youth, and the always present, uncertain future.

“When We Were Nothing was the second song we ever wrote together as a band,” says Power. “Our guitarist Ben brought in the main riff and I could tell from the beginning it was going to be great, so I wrote a verse for it and then we wrote the lyrics together.  Everything really came to life once we brought it into the practice room with the addition of Cain’s drum part and Emily’s bass and vocal Recording with Rob Whiteley was a lot of fun as we felt like he was able to help give us the freedom to experiment with the sounds we wanted as well as being able to put all our ideas together into a cohesive mix. The mastering job from Mark Gardener was the final touch that has taken the song to another level and we’re excited to continue working with him going forward.”

Listen here:

 

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Opa Loka Records – 5th March 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Breath Mule is the third album for Dutch multi media artist Richard van Kruysdijk under the moniker Cut Worms, and after a gap of over three years, completes a trilogy along with Lumbar Fist (2016) and Cable Mounds (2017).

As the accompanying blurb outlines, ‘Cut Worms’ sound palette is firmly rooted in the lower frequencies’, detailing how ‘As the droney, cinematic tracks evolve, their slowly unravelling, gritty sounds evoke the audio equivalent of brutalist architecture: Concrete walls of sound that are as majestic as they are elementary, yet intrinsically detailed when examined with a magnifying glass.’

The majority of the tracks are long, and not a lot really happens, meaning that there is time given for each composition to breathe and explore the tones and textures in full detail. The low-booming opener, ‘Slug Sirup’ sounds like a ship’s horn sounding out over the miles through a dense and played back at half speed. First distant, it grows in volume, but little else happens for a very long time. And then, somehow, more than nine minutes has evaporated, and drifted into the slow-booming drone of ‘Come Lightly’. There isn’t much light about it: it’s dank and ominous.

There are crackling creaks enveloped in the dense, crawling fog of ‘Cinder Locks’. The sound is thick, heavy, immersive, and yes, it is ominous but at the same time, I find a certain comfort in such vast expanses of thunderous ambience. The more condensed the sound, the more it billows like smoke, the more impenetrable and more solid it becomes, the more it feels somehow like something that’s a source of a certain warmth and security. The same is true of the throbbing ‘Denmark Spiral’, but the thin, trilling wisps of Girly Totem’, while more overtly and quintessentially ‘ambient’ are somehow more difficult to settle in with – particularly in context.

The darkness really comes to the fore on the final track, the eleven-and-a-half-minute ‘Slashed Hostage’. The title provides a fair indication of its weight, and it begins with a low, slow, oscillating throbbing hum, one of those drones that nags at the senses like a far-off helicopter that you scan the sky for but can’t see. Again, it’s a slow-builder: the sound expands, louder, denser, but no different, and this is where it really starts to get into your head and burrow into your skull. It’s along this journey that the slow-moving drone expands to a different level of immersion, and when the swell tapers down, hushed vocals echo menacingly, too low in the mix to decipher the actual words, a poem by the enigmatic Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988), who wrote surrealist works in French. Because. That said, Scelsi is an interesting choice, as a composer who, according to his Wikipedia entry, ‘composed music based around only one pitch, altered in all manners through microtonal oscillations, harmonic allusions, and changes in timbre and dynamics, as paradigmatically exemplified in his Quattro pezzi su una nota sola (‘Four Pieces on a single note’, 1959)’.

On Breath Mule, Cut Worms offers more than a single note, but then again, there are no notes: only thick, swirling billows of sound and layers of drone on drone. It grips you, immerses you, hold you… and it’s not unpleasant, as long as you don’t struggle.

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Panurus Productions – 5th March 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Charlie Butler’s Gathering Dust is something of a departure for Newcastle tape label, PANURUS Productions, in that it’s incredibly mellow. It’s not a complete departure, through: designed as a cassette release, it features two longform tracks, each fitting neatly onto one side of a good old C30 (the likes of which I used to get from Maplins back in the early 90s) – or, in an ideal world, perhaps one side of a 12” or 10” vinyl release. But we know that for a niche label like this, the cost of a vinyl run is prohibitive, and while their print runs are extremely limited, they do sell out – which is the perfect operating model: knowing the scale of their audience and sales reach, and catering to demand without massively overreaching, means costs are covered, and everyone wins. There’s a stream and digital download for anyone who wants it, after all. Everyone’s a winner.

The album title is in fact an amalgamation of the individual titles of the two tracks, and separated, the context shifts a little. Gathering dust connotes a lack of movement, a stasis, something that’s essentially furniture, something neglected, unused. This places the power of word association in sharp relief: together, the words suggest something very different in contrast to when they’re independent of one another.

And so ‘gathering’ brings connotations of collecting, bringing together, of hunter—gathering. And from the dense, swirling drone of a trilling keyboard on the fifteen-and-a-half-minute track that is ‘Gathering’ emerges a slow-picked guitar. The drone und strang approach, whereby echo and tube crunch coalesce to envelop the guitar in a soft sonic bubble is highly reminiscent of latter-day Earth and Dylan Carlson’s solo releases. It doesn’t ‘do’ much, and doesn’t need to: ‘Gathering’ is a long, slow, and expansive work that explores atmosphere.

‘Dust’ is a deep, sense drone that billows and booms, and is indeed reminiscent of the heavy drone of Sunn O))). Its effects are soporific, and for a time my notes are sparse as I drift and move beyond the immediate environs of my workspace to immerse myself in this thick fog of a composition as it slowly unfurls with its post-rock leanings and immersive atmosphere. There’s a tonal warmth that surrounds this, and it borders on ambience at times, and dust washes and drifts like particles descending. And over time, it builds… and builds, swirling into a dense, billowing sonic cloud. The final minutes are reminiscent of the eternal drone of Earth 2 – and being one of my all-time favourites, that’s very much a compliment and an indication of just how textured and enthralling Charlie Butler’s brand of drone is.

Gathering Dust is remarkably dense, but it’s not heavy per se. It’s one of those releases you can simply surrender to, and lose yourself in the enormity of the sound.

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Come Play With Me – 6th December 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

Leeds-based singles label Come Play With Me end 2019 on a high as they continue to promote the most exciting fresh talent from the region – and remind us that regional and local doesn’t have to mean substandard or amateurish. Then, Leeds has long been a hotbed for emerging talent to cater for all tastes, to the extent that listing the acts that the city has produced in recent years – and further back -seems vaguely pointless and moreover, there are simply too many to name.

Dense live up to their name on ‘Fever Dream’, a song inspired by a dream the band’s singer Charlie had while ill, and conveys the horror of vivid scenes and heightened sense as he hollers gruff and manic into a shuddering wall of juddering bass, crashing drums and thick guitars. It’s dirty, it’s grungy, it’s gritty, and it’s loud. Somewhere in the murky mess is a surprisingly tight groove that pins everything together. Around the midpoint, everything explodes into a frenzied, head-shredding mass of noise and demented yelping. This seems the only way to truly convey an unspeakably disorientating and otherworldly trauma.

Sea Legs offer up something altogether lighter and brighter: ‘Favourite Doll’ is a sliver of buoyant but shadow-shaded indie that has Hints of the Cure about it. It’s a nice contrast to Dense’s brutal noise, and with a light melody and ready accessibility, provides a welcome contrast. That’s a contrast that’s complimentary, of course: CPWM have long demonstrated a knack for perfect pairings, and this latest is no exception.

DENSE - FEVER DREAM (ARTWORK)

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