Charlatan Meets The North Sea - Charlatan Meets The North Sea 7.7
Charlatan and the North Sea specialize in extended drone-like melodies. Thus their collaboration should have happened earlier. On this album they build off of each other’s strengths. What this album does is play to the other’s strengths. Charlatan’s impulses towards the repetitive are tempered by the North Sea’s focus on melody. The result is a melodic take on the komische sound that has been made popular by such labels as Spectrum Spools and anything Emeralds-related (though the two are often the same thing).
‘Empty Naked Streets’ opens the album with soothing waves of sound. This gets surprisingly busy. By the end it overwhelms the senses with countless effects filtering in through the calmly rhythmic pulse. Other songs take a calmer approach such as the gentle calm of ‘Futura’. ‘All the World is Toxic’ is extraordinarily hopeful in spite of its title. The song appears to flex its muscles as it builds up to a rather muscular piece. In fact the sound appears to be goofy in nature, almost veering onto Mouse on Mar’s cartoonish optimism. ‘Maximum Capacity’ lives up to its name, offering a cluttered, busy, borderline noise atmosphere. Unlike most of the tracks on here, this one takes no time in setting its volume loud, very loud. Melodies eventually appear but they feel accidental, like they were stumbled upon.
This gets loud at times, painfully so. Volume is simply another part of the sound itself. At times disorientating in its hyperactivity, these two are aware of exactly what is required to overwhelm. And that’s a very good thing.