remote_ thoughts | contemporary electronic

Yann Novak – Relocation.Reconstruction – Line

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Minimalist by remotethoughts on November 30, 2010

Yann Novak - Relocation.Reconstruction

Artist: Yann Novak

Title: Relocation.Reconstruction

Label: Line

Cat No.: LINE_045

Format: CD – Edition of 500 copies

I don’t even really know how to describe this incredible release as it has formed a constant background to my life for the past four months – through bad times and good. It’s been there at my lowest ebb and just as much a part of things when life began to turn around for me. So I guess I’m not going to be overly objective about it. But then, that’s not why you’ve come here, is it?

The first time I experienced this work I was aware that it was something special and with each consecutive listen that feeling has grown and grown. I have absolutely no idea how many times I’ve played it but it’s been on at least once virtually every day since I got it. To me that’s a recommendation enough as it’s very rare that something affects me as profoundly as this (and, as an example, I could cite discovering Celer and Bvdub as other defining moments over the last few years).

I love Yann’s work anyway and have enjoyed everything I’ve heard thus far but this release really takes it to another level in my opinion. All the hallmarks of his keen sense for music and sound design are here, but it’s the distillation of one of his key works, ‘Relocation’, that proves to be a defining moment in his musical career for me.

Relocation.Reconstruction takes elements from the aforementioned installation and limited CDr release and forms it into a genuinely brilliant 42 minute work that has timeless written all over it, and by condensing the beautiful and the dissonant into one whole it simply accentuates exactly why this form of music can be enjoyed over and over again.

A drifting, icy ambience permeates every second and the initially discordant opening soon gives way to a more melodic and gentle tone – and yet that moves into an incredible and startlingly deep passage where all of the most intense elements of the original recordings coalesce into a magical and otherworldly soundscape. It’s as uplifting in many ways as it is subtle and the highly evolved balance of dark versus light shines strong and true. Bass rumbles delightfully underneath the core sounds, providing a balance between mid and low frequencies. The shimmering, ever evolving layers are the equivalent of an aural tonic that will soothe you and envelop you.

The way the individual parts slowly flow into each other is so perfectly executed that, by the time you’re fully immersed in the current section, you can’t seem to recall exactly how it segued from the previous passage. The change is so subtle and so expertly realised that it leaves me, frankly, breathless.

I love that this music uses implication as a way of suggesting themes. While the ‘relocation’ part of the title is reasonably well documented by the artist, it allows you the scope to concoct your own version of events, your own narrative, if you will. That’s why it works so tremendously in virtually every situation I find myself in; travelling, working, feeling blue, feeling joyous and so much more.

If you’ve got this far through my review you’ll have quite possibly noticed that I’m rather enamoured with this release. I’m more than enamoured really… I’m completely smitten. It’s a work of substance and a deep understanding of how powerful the most low-key and subtle music can really be.

After a year of wonderful releases this is, without doubt, my album of the year.

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Sublamp – Wickerships – Ahora Eterno Records

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Organic by remotethoughts on November 30, 2010

Sublamp - Wickerships

Artist: Sublamp

Title: Wickerships

Label: Ahora Eterno Records

Cat No.: AE003

Format: CD

Another delicious cocktail of sound here from Ryan Connor under his Sublamp guise, and a superb introduction for the Ahora Eterno label from Argentina if you’re not already aware of it.

Wistful drones and melancholy drifts of sound combine to make a compelling, enchanting and deeply beautiful collection of earthy organica. Similar to his previous and outstanding work for Dragon’s Eye this has a knack of sounding imperfect, yet perfect at the same time… the occasional hint of dissonance, a clashing note here and there, but always with a melodious feel that swathes everything in a very human warmth.

Sometimes guitar-based, sometimes electronic, the music is often accompanied by natural sound recordings and, in fact, my highlight of the album is the utterly magnificent ‘The Hauntingshell I’ which features a heavy dose of field recordings. Wind and clattering metal meld together to create a mini 5-minute narrative that allows the imagination to run riot picturing exactly where the recordings were taken. I favour a desolate arctic environment, although I could equally imagine a desert-scape with windswept dunes and rocky crags.

Whatever you picture in your own mind, be sure that this album is a refined, tightly honed object lesson in expansive, yet subtle sound design.

Beautiful and at times stark, this really is a majestic piece of work.

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