Dream Sequence is gigantic. Taking up the majority of the conscious realm Snoqualmie Falls quickly move the environment sounds towards a surreal soundscape. Every possible frequency is overwhelmed by the sheer slab of sound that comes forth. A gradual piece it feels simultaneously menacing and comforting in tone. With each additional movement the darkness grows larger in scale. Nestled within the over-sized clouds of sound are shimmering beams, little flashes of light that permeate through the impending gray.
Over the course of the first ten minutes Snoqualmie Falls introduces the listener into a beautiful natural environment. Editing allows them to pull further away from the tangible into the deep unknown. Whispers emerge out around the twenty to thirty minute mark. Pieces seem to emit great feelings of hope. Angelic extended voices hover above the dense drones that have come to give the entire piece its structure its sound and its ecosystem. Towards the end of the thirty minute segment recognizable instruments are incorporated. Guitars begin to ring out beyond the touch of the large dense fields of sound.
Counteracting that with the fifty minute mark is a doubled effort to destroy any traces of humanity. Down go the guitars the wordless angelic hues into pitch blackness. For the finale the song returns back to its pastoral roots, to the quiet field recording, as if the song is waking up from heavy dreams. Everything moves in a peculiar way on Dream Sequence allowing things to focus on texture on the elements lost.
Monolyth and Cobalt refuse to keep things static. The manipulation of sound is kept gentle. Intersection between the glitch effects and the instruments feels so natural. Elements of the sound go everywhere. Various moments are reminiscent of Jim O’Rourke’s experimental work, Goodiepal’s work incorporating folk into electronic (or electronic into folk) and moments of early Mego releases. By using such a broad palette Monolyth and Cobalt subject the listen to a wide variety of moments, all of them done quite tastefully.
On the opener “Polar (Introduction)” the song remains relatively relaxed for much of the duration allowing plucks as the only reminder that the sound has organic origins. By far one of the collection’s highlights is the absolutely jubilant “Titanium (Geology)”. Aspects of it shine through with such enthusiasm. Excited anxious tones nervously quiver. The opposite approach is taken on the scrapings of “Skyscrapers; Sleepwalkers”. Nearly asleep the song appears to stumble through with guitars moving with a degree of unease. Sounds shift into the steam-like industrial noises found in the background. “Adolf Wolfi Never Died” takes wind chimes and uses a sound not dissimilar to early Four Tet recordings. The folksiness of Four Tet appears again on “Et Ces Arbres Qui Cueillaint Des branches” which is downright glorious.
For the final stretch of the collection comes the epic “Birds Are Some Holes In The Sky Through A Man Can Pass”. The constant moves make it a regular engaging emotionally charged piece. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Licht)” ends the collection off on a noir note with disembodied voices and a clear debt to jazz. Polarlicht plays with perception.
Feel No Other is a disorientating experience. Expanding into literally every possible genre it can get its hands on Feel No Other is an adventurous album indeed. Influences are nearly impossible to pinpoint. With such a wide range of styles Feel No Other is a unique group. A few features help to tie much of the pieces together. Vocals bring the pieces together serving as one of the consistent elements on the tracks helping to give the pieces a sense of narrative.
Eclectic pop introduces “my brother’s guns and knives”. With a consistent beat and multiples synthesizers the song manages to impart a sense of dread. Taking a similar approach with completely different instruments is “winter is all over you” which uses a folksier template. Incredibly organic it is one of the highlights of the piece. Such an atmosphere continues on the mellow “altavilla milicia”. Using a strange spaghetti western style on the aptly named “gunslinger” Feel No Other allows the sound to spread out a bit relying on texture rather than traditional melody. “eclipse” is an electronic interlude to help clear the palette for the album’s next turn towards more ambient pieces.
The best piece on the album comes right before the ending. “even the blue” brings together the alluded to previous genre. Nearly theatrical in execution it highlights the power of the singer’s voice. Finishing the album off is the whimsical “toy soldiers”. Feel No Other is a dramatic introduction into an emotionally charged world.
Lowgazers rages against everything. Anger has finally been given a name and its name is Plebian Grandstand. The assault is relentless. Screaming at the listener with every bit of energy the body can muster Plebeian Grandstand simply dominates. Instrumentally the band is rather ferocious. Drumming is about disgust at the kit than anything trying to keep a basic rhythm. Guitars are the true boon of the album as they offer the listener an anchor of sorts. By giving the guitars a bit of structure there are a few fantastic moments that arise.
For the first few moments “Thrvst” appears to be relatively subdued. This slight break lasts for approximately twenty seconds before the drums begin bludgeoning. And yes they bludgeon because this is violent music. Everything around is fully decimated. On “Endless Craving” the guitars get a chance to shine. While the sound continues to get pulverized by vocals and percussion the guitars show off a real talent for form. “Lowlifers” gets downright gorgeous with its veering from beauty to ugliness. At times the music even stops for a rare breath. “Relief of Troth” immediately follows to provide something of a palette cleanser.
“Svn in Your Head” goes for malice without the punishing drums. Guitars linger providing a brutal field of sound. “Aimless Roaming” makes up for the loss of the drums as it maintains a machine-gun staccato rhythm. For the finale of “Mvrk Diving” Plebian Grandstand make their final stand against the world taking dark ambient, metal, distortion and all that entails. Lowgazers leaves nothing behind.
Trapped in amber Orme’s Debut feels positively timeless. Clarity is of the utmost importance for each of the four pieces. By retaining a sense of group play the songs manage to express something truly beautiful about the quiet moments of life. Every instrument is given plenty of space to be fully recognized. Pieces are ideally paced. Debut is an album that celebrates the splendor and subtle grace of acoustic folk. Inclusion of the cello is a wise choice as it adds to the overall spry feel of the pieces bringing a much needed classical component.
Gently introducing the collection is the spiraling work of “Le bois”. The restrained playing is accompanied by cello adding to the sense of lightness. About halfway through the piece the instruments frolic allowing themselves a great deal of space. Emotionally it is diverse going from joy to bittersweet. By far it is the highlight. On “Retentissant” things quiet down. Joys are found in the small gestures the slight ache of the strings. Passion defines “Sur le pavé” which ends up being the densest piece. With its constant zigzag approach it covers a lot of territory before it finally calms down.
Finishing off with the rustic “Des cours”. A slight move towards deeper sounds helps to keep the piece propelled. Strings prove to be particularly prominent on this piece. Light percussion halfway through helps to make it feel closer to a contemporary sound. On the final moments the song appears to be rushing towards a beautiful conclusion. Orme’s Debut is light and full of exquisite detail.