13 September 2010

 - fr:om harmed weather to stark, micro, climates. (2009, Highpoint Lowlife)

Alpine. is the solo project of Alex Smalley, half of Pausal  and half of Olan Mill too. "Fr:om Harmed Weather To Stark, Micro, Climates.", a digital only release with a strange title, lists, in fact, in order, the names of the six tracks.

Compared with the driving, enveloping and vast but subtle soundscapes of Pausal, Alpine. seems to be a more understated affair, the tracks are shorter, more minimal, all about subliminal evocative suggestions never fully developed, like some fugacious or fugitive visions, seen from a passing train or in an abridged dream, just before the alarm clock rings.
Once that said, these works are beautiful, less about drones than about vaporous and blurry familiar ambient atmospheres, between late spring and early summer but with a changing weather and episodic sunny spells.

As soon as you start to grab "Fr:om"and enter the related mood it is already finished and we are inside "Harmed", a two minute miniature ambient work reminiscent of Brian Eno, concatenated to a field recordings reconstruction of the sonic environment you could potentially find if you were taking a shortcut somewhere in town, on a small path between gardens.

"To Stark" could be a short daydream looking at crystallines waves on the surface of a puddle while waiting in a bus shelter and "Micro" another one about waiting in a shed until rain stops mixing abstracts electronics with water sounds. "Climates" is the only trial at injecting a fragment of melody but below the two minutes mark.

This is an interesting ep but it fails at leaving a lasting impression as if Alex Smalley had focused on these anonymous instants of waiting and emptiness that are parts of our days too.

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