Posts Tagged ‘slowcore’

Tavern Eightieth (TVEI) – 31st October 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Don’t read too much into the Hallowe’en release date for this solo offering from Matt Christensen, who is more usually found lending his voice to Chicago genre-straddling guitar-based act Zelienople. There are no guitars to be found here, or vocals, and despite the album title’s connotations of the predatory, the sinister and the dangerous, this is no haunting horrorshow or ultra-dark ambient work coughed up from the bowels of the earth, although the five tracks on Prowl are certainly strong on atmospherics.

The title track sets the mood, a murky groove softly bounces along, the insistent beats largely submerged by a thick, opaque subaquatic sonic murk which strangely deadens the sound and creates a sensation that’s almost physical rather than simply auditory. When the rhythms are completely absent, as on ‘Mountains of Fire (Remix)’, Christensen glides effortlessly into what one may reasonably call ‘pure’ ambience: the forms are vague, intangible, with no discernible sense of structure as the soft and slowly-drifting washes of sound shift and turn gradually.

‘Spending It’ is perhaps the most haunting track on the album, crackles and pops – somewhere between the click and clatter of worn vinyl and the cracks and snaps of burning wood – form the distant rhythmic undercurrents which echo through the warping tones before being carried away into silence on a long, low wind-like drone. In contrast, ‘Junk Test’ is altogether more buoyant, bubbling beats flit beneath rippling Tangerine Dream synth motifs.

Everything is kept low-key, the sounds dissolving into one another and in a slow but continual evolution. It’s a radical departure from Christensen’s work with Zelienople, but, as one may expect, it’s an album that demonstrates a keen awareness of the dynamics of texture and tone. In the context of Prowl, these elements are explored in their most delicate and subtle forms, and in its field, it’s an accomplished and enjoyable work.

 

Matt Christensen – Prowl

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