September 30, 2012
Review: Vessel – ‘Order of Noise’
As if ties to Punch Drunk, Young Turks and countless 12”s on a host of other labels over the last year isn’t enough, Bristol man Vessel has now landed himself a deal with purveyors of all things electronically moody, Tri Angle Records – a perfect home for Gainsborough’s dark, veiled soundscapes. His first release for them (and first official full length), Order of Noise, is a consolidation of the young Sebastian Gainsborough’s work to date, with more than a little respect shown to his new home.
It’s hard to tell whether Gainsborough’s recent Tri Angle surroundings have had a deep impact on his sound, or whether his new ethereal direction pre-empted the move itself. Either way, the ghostly layers and clouds of dark ambience that filter through Order of Noise certainly owe a debt to label mates like Holy Other, Balam Acaab and oOoOO.
Opener ‘Vizar’ sets the tone, its sweeping pads and long, droning harmonies creating an unearthly ambience. The disembodied vocals that define much of the Tri Angle sound make an early appearance, with Gainsborough using them subtly and to good effect.
‘Stillborn Dub’ incites comparisons to the German minimal producer Pole with its spaced out delays and clattering, lo-fi and low-filtered percussion, while ‘Silten’ is a hypnotically dragging piece, full of glassy synths and snatches of wordless vocals. ‘Images of Bodies’ is spaciously minimal techno with a first glimpse of Vessel’s characteristically deep bass tones, before ‘Lache’ brings a chaotic intro into focus with a perfectly timed beat drop.
The influences of dub are heavily in attendance on Order of Noise (check out ‘2 Moon Dub’ or the echoing ‘Aries’), and there’s even a touch of high energy Euro-house on ‘Plane Curves’.
Gainsborough’s more experimental efforts are largely successful too. The franticly building ‘Court of Lions’ and ‘Scarletta’’s explosion of grainy synths and scattered rhythms particular highlights, and there’s a touch of Hype Williams at their most distant on closer ‘Villaine’ – bookending the album perfectly with ‘Vizar’.
It’s a strong debut for Gainsborough, managing to twist his own unique compositional style perfectly to fit with Tri Angle’s ethos – a label that’s successfully positioning itself as the number one source for this particular strain of narcotised, ethereal production.
Read this review in context over at HYPONIK