Saturday, 4 June 2016

Tense Nature by Brian Case.(Hands in the Dark Records)

Photo by Zoran Orlic .
'Tense Nature' is the new album by Disappears front man Brian Case. Disappears have been described as Krautrock but their albums have such a sense of moving on, seem so distinct and subtly varied that any one label isn't going to come anywhere close to describing them, and their last album 'Irreal' saw them stripping everything back. Those trends continue on this solo album. This is a work that explores a very different musical territory to Disappears and in that there is a strange continuity, if Disappears are always moving on then so is this, if 'Irreal' was a stripping back then this takes it further. According to Hands in the Dark 'The songs are all built around the idea of tape loops or lock grooves, working with snippets and phrases of sound. Brian sampled guitar or small drum loops before cutting them randomly. The sequences and their imperfect nature were then reworked into a sort of momentum, built using Case’s own perception of the new fragments'. That's how it was done but what does it sound like? Fascinating! Its like listening to a really great sci-fi film! The album is made up of 12 tracks of varying lengths each one complete in itself with it's own inner cohesion and structure but nothing jars with the unity of the whole. It is a meticulous creation/construction.  In some ways the individual tracks and the album as a whole are closer to a piece of aural installation art than rock or pop and would be as at home in a gallery as a music venue. In feel the tracks range from the mysterious (DCIN) to the ominous (Sisix) and it is always at least slightly unsettling. Having listened to it a few times I would say it is an album whose intelligence and subtly become more apparent the more time you invest in it. If you are wondering where to place it in your album collection as a work of intriguing experimental minimalism it would probably slot in next to Tomaga quite nicely.

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