23 August 2012

Pausal – forms (2012, Barge)

The trouble with ambient drone music is that it is quite simple to start repeating yourself after a few compositions and through the process, you may lose a part of your appeal, as, not matter the level of quality you'll achieve, you will start to fail at surprise listeners.

To this situation, Alex Smalley and Simon Bainton brought the option to broaden their sound, giving rise to backwards influences.

There are ten compositions on this second album but they are regrouped into sets of two and three, so we end up just to have four tracks.

Most of the tracks names are related to plant biology and horticulture. The choice of artwork also brings some light about their stylistic changes. It’s a selection of representations of, what looks like to me, different pollens, coming from “ Kunstformen der Natur” (“Art Forms of Nature”), a publication of 19th century naturalist Ernst Haeckel, known for his meticulous illustrations.

Similarly, each of the Pausal compositions are perfectly designed and own a certain individuality, even if each one is a portion of the whole and are mixed into each other.

The focus of “Forms” is on their representation, with each detail sublimed, giving no place to approximation, yet keeping the desire of blurring the lines. Underneath the new layers of electronic sounds you still have the emotional and sensitive dimension of previous Pausal releases.

Such evolution has been compared to what Mountains did with their “Choral” lp but I think “Forms” is less drastic in terms of change. The expansion of their sound goes into the direction of older ambient explorations, such as the ones made by Harold Budd, Brian Eno or even David Sylvian, and it’s also tempting to speak of new age or kosmische music influences but they don’t go that far or too far this way.

They don’t want to make you lose your mind into meditative or psychedelic trips, they seem to have simply wanted to keep their sense of depth with the addition of lusher, more shining digital sounds.

“Fertiliser / Horticulture / Mower” opens with the sound of a small river running underneath trees where birds are singing, slowly electronic sounds and synth waves come to complement and replace this sole, but recurring through the composition, incursion into field recordings. They are later joined by manipulated harp sounds.

If it is really pleasant and if the quality is obvious, it is strangely not so intense and not particularly innovative, as they haven’t chosen the temptation greatness instead they always keep softer patterns. The second part of this composition is particularly great in the context of summer bucolic landscapes between afternoon and evening, when the nature if waking up after the warmth of the day.

The first part of “Milk Whistle / Pollen Counter” makes me think of the intense buzzing near the entry of a beehive during the warmest part of the day but strangely, during the next part, the synth waves in the background bring me back to fresher nocturnal feelings, so I don’t really know on which foot I’m standing. New buzzing drones come to erode progressively the full scene turning it to a ballet of dragonflies at the foggy surface of a pond, while rising horizontal sunrays enlighten the scene. Later it turns into a walk in a dark forest full of huge pine trees.

The last two tracks are closer in form to past Pausal releases : “Fruiting Bodies / Liberty Capped” is deliciously aerial like pollen floating into the air of a sweet spring day, while the grass and leaves undulate under the influence of the breeze.

“Lawn Aura / World Away / Decomposition” is much more monochromatic, like the sun inundating, with a waterfall of vertical rays, snowy fields, sandy beaches, the sea or the lawn areas of a public park.

"Forms" is a successful second album for Pausal, which if it makes them forward suggest further moves too, in order to keep lisibility and strength.


No comments:

Post a Comment