September 30, 2012

Review: Vessel – ‘Order of Noise’

Posted in Reviews tagged , , , at 12:43 pm by essentiallyeclectic

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




August 28, 2012

Live: Holy Other @ Rescue Rooms, Nottingham. 26/08/2012

Posted in Reviews tagged , , , at 1:51 pm by essentiallyeclectic

Photo: Ronan Miller

Manchester producer Holy Other has worked hard to cultivate an air of mystery around himself in the run up to the release of debut album ‘Held’. Live appearances covered by a ghostly cowl and a refusal to give his real name in interviews have added to the Burial-style intrigue, which is why it’s slightly surprising to see an unveiled and unassuming character take to the stage behind an array of knobs and wires at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms.

Wordlessly working through his dark, deconstructed inversions of post-dubstep, bathed in monochrome and dry ice, Holy Other proves a hypnotic performer. Tracks like opener ‘Tense Past’ and forthcoming album title track ‘Held’ marry deep, guttural drones with vocal fragments and rattling beats to create a strangely monastic feel. The tempos rarely move from snail pace, and the huge washes of reverb and synth tones form an air of strangely sombre optimism.

After a curt 45 minutes, Holy Other rather abruptly departs the stage, the dying embers of his final loop still ringing out, and the mesmeric spell is broken. It’s an engaging performance, one aided by a gloomy lighting setup and minimal, swaying visuals – a strong advert for ‘Held’ on the eve of its release.

Read this review in context over at ARTROCKER