03 June 2011

Herzog - young lungs agains the sea (2011, Bedside Table)

Debut album for  Bill Bawden, after a five shorter releases on various netlabels: Serein (2005 & 2006), 12rec (2007), Resting Bell (2009)  and finally Audio Gourmet (2010). It is something like a slow and constant progression, weighing time, refining, adjusting and digging, and building an identity.

While his name was relatively familiar, probably crossed a few times at least, I never engaged myself into the exploration of one of these releases, but as soon as I started to listen to this album I was amazed and regretted I hadn't given more attention to the whole output of such netlabels, preferring instead picking one or another release but never his.

This next step as a debut album is self-released on a label he started for the occasion, it has been edited to only 100 copies and is alternatively available on his bandcamp page. It is a small scale release, considering the quality, finding another label could have been possible but probably it will be the next step.

“Young lungs against the sea” is an entity which requests attention, not a simple collection of tracks. It is directly enjoyable, for the quality of its production, but quite soon you'll feel that it is necessary to immerse yourself into it in order to fully understand what happens.

It is conceptually a pure electronic ambient record, using typical elements, like virtual electric piano buried under glitches, drones and other precisely processed sounds. The whole climate is quiet, humid and semi nocturnal, comfortable and developing a certain density of layers which can recall shoegazing but in a a more polished, refined and almost monochromatic form.

The details are important, the background scene is quiet precise, each tiny sounds finds a complete justification, it's emotional but at a diffuse level, percolating without never being in the forefront, if subtle, then totally blurry, even the elements of tensions are delicately hidden and barely emerge.

It makes you wish finally things could be more explicit, broken melody lines more minimal and more obvious, because the risk with such album for an artist is to stay unnoticed because both it needs investment from the listener and don't reveal its intensity like finally shyness was winning.

Once that said, Herzog embraces in such a way perfectly the idea of ambient music as tracks like Bird Formation", "A Space Race of the Heart", "You Can't Fake a Smile" or "Low Sun" simply disappear in the background leaving no durable trace in mind.

At the opposite, "Bring the Hearts Home" offers captivating melancholic tension, while "Lungs" soothes and gives some comfort through heavy times,  "Tonight Was a Misadventure" is like a long reflexive walk, late afternoon when July is still in full bloom, distilling a deep and painful feeling of melancholy, and there are nice fragrances of bitterness and loneliness with "Loudness War".

While not totally satisfying, this album becomes precious only when Bill Bawden shows more of himself and follows a narrative ambient path.

Herzog - A Space Race of the Heart from Bill Bawden on Vimeo.



No comments:

Post a Comment