ARTIST: Northern Valentine & P.D. Wilder
ALBUM: Northern Valentine & P.D. Wilder
LABEL: Gears of Sand
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Ambient and experimental acts Northern Valentine and P.D. Wilder teamed up for this untitled release, and though there are only six tracks, this is no easily tossed off EP. Clocking in at well over an hour, this is deep listening ambient sure to appeal to fans of either project, full of stretched out loops and dreamy barely-there tones. Opening track "Animals of the Dead" is less morbid than its title suggests; it's so subtle, in fact, that it's difficult to discern any mood at all, though the looping harmonic tones are definitely in a minor key. "Solar Wind" features a similarly misleading title; it's less sunny or spacey than subterranean, full of deep echoes and mutterings. The two untitled pieces that form the album's centerpiece gradually evolve from dreamy, faintly organic tones punctuated by occasional squeaks and chirps to a lonelier vastness haunted by distant flutes, while "Amx Actic" is brighter, with thicker layering and looped tones that are somehow both soft and shimmering. Finishing track "Ballet" returns things to ironic title category; it's 12 and a half minutes of mellow drone music, and though one could perhaps imagine an avant-garde modern dance company using it for an interpretive piece, it's about as far from "Swan Lake" as you can get. The titles aren't really the point of this album anyway; the point is achingly slow, subtle ambient soundscapes, and this album is languid enough to please the most devout purists of the style.
For more information, visit the the label's website at www.gearsofsand.net.
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