22 January 2011

Concern - cæsarean (2010, Slow Flow)

"Cæsarean", is the first full length by Concern (aka Gordon Ashworth, from Oregon, USA), released on the Japanese label Slow Flow records, after several shorter releases on different labels - one is included here.

You can relate his music to the ambient / drone genre, but he stays away from the electronic & digital side of the genre, composing on  piano, clarinet, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, chord organ, harmonium, springs, bass, pedals and using extensive tape manipulation. 

There is a nice fine-grain texture which gives a real authenticity to his compositions. Five tracks from 7 to 33 minutes for a total length of 76 minutes, "Cæsarean" is a long, even too long album, but once your eyes taken by the splendid artwork, you'll embark for a long trip through the night. 

There is something fragile and intimate with the use of fragmentary cuts during the first part of "Discrete Memorial" and it almost even reminds me of some tracks of Empress or Sawako using a not so dissimilar  similar technique, even if the whole ambiance finally turns into something certainly closer to the William Basinski and The Stars of the Lid territories, but we are left with the idea of an open door with a view on what could be Concern's future.

"Mending" starts with field recordings captured outside in an undeterminate environments, with sounds of distant traffic and other more natural like taken in a public park, then drone waves rise and wipe away just like you would fall asleep in this same park, taking a nap on the grass, one of these days of spring when the sun rays starts to be warm and comforting again, without being too ardent like they will be during summer.

One Sunday morning in a small town, "From Warmth And From Violence", the sound of bells coming from a nearby church, echoed and vibrant, mixed with birds voices and when the droning waves finally invade the vacant space, you feel the wind stroking branches and leaves through the trees, you're dazzled with butterflies visiting blooming fields, you're floating over wheat fields still green.

This album would have been perfect if it stopped there after 34 minutes. The next two tracks were previoulsy released on Students of Decay in 2008  and show a less evolved version of Concern, much more typical to drone music and lacking of vivacity and of a personal touch as even if he mostly uses the same ingredients there is no feeling of emotional saturation which will transport you to another place like during the first three tracks.

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