Out January 11th
While out exploring the sonic spaciousness within experimental and digital sounds, Mute Branches stumbled upon a delicious dereliction. Nestled within the decrepit hulks of sonic youth, he encountered a mineral vein of such beauty that it became his calling. Knowing that he had to mine it and bring it home in the form of this album, Mute Branches took on the task of chiselling out the glistening music from the solid mass that is intention. Spacious zones of retrospective whist scatter the landscape like broken buildings and untamed gardens playing host to all manner of nature's wonder. This Lichfield sound technician gladly draws on inspiration from eclectic electronic avenues including Beach House, Fennesz, and Oneohtrix Point Never.
Beginning with Acceleration Pact, an eerie melody played with retro style oscillator tones casts a mysterious sensation. Joined by casual twisting percussive elements and atmospheric keyboard additions, the music soon adjusts into a dreamy encounter with the surreal. Playful harmonics resonate from the mixing sounds and chord progressions made from different tone families and what sounds like a shadowy guitar bring ingredients from many meadows to this mildly bubbling cauldron. Experimental adjustments in the direction via tone and scale towards the track's finale slenderly usher us into the next phase of the album. It closes on cosmic drifts of sound like dispersing smoke from a distant fire.
A new organic feel emerges from the delicate chaos of before, a guitar picking oddly tuned melodies to an intermittent drum opens another door in this warm vintagesque recording. From the wings, choral voices and brass instruments plough solid notes through the wavering delivery of the musician, almost as if in a slightly different dimension, the watery barrier distorts the combination on otherwise foundation frequencies, leaving a teetering feeling on what remains. Zoner I sounds like an improvisation that gradually became so much more. The progressive backdrop of drums uncurl to bring out a thumping intersection of rhythm that causes the track to shift up a gear. We're still encapsulated in dream, nudged along imaginary story lines that don't always go the way we want them to.
Nightspot Pigeon Toilet begins on a feedback like wave of metallic tones which wail together in a one direction passage into our minds. Not long after, a beat begins to churn out the music in moving chunks while synthetic bird sounds dash the sides with their odd chirrups. Static in the background grows to meet the middle while new additions of synthesiser tone splash like buckets of warm water over the floor. This shorter number breaks down to reveal a tropical sounding melody played on wooden sounding drums. A deep chiming keyboard breaths chesty tones from the depths into the picture. Riding on the wave of clarity comes a violin style voice, singing in its teased string vibrations to a sad tale of the sea. Gutterclog Economics is a mournful number, bemoaning the loss of free-flowing money perhaps. Rivers dry up and new wells are dug elsewhere, business sense and passion are not the same unfortunately. That along with greed, not paying it forward, which is the other side of the equation. It's good to reward musicians, put it that way.
The fifth number takes us on an underwater dive through glistening turrets and windows which lend their openings to shoals of brightly coloured fish. The Sunken Restaurant takes us down into the depths, where scuba equipment produces streams of bubbles which glint in the dappled light from the well lit surface. As we're drawn in, and greeted by the ambient surroundings, we sit back and enjoy the peaceful tranquillity offered here. Zoner II follows on from the previous title, and follows the story on from the last track. New rhythms break through the heavy yet soft musicality of the number and provide solid foundations for the guitar to joyously explore the underwater landscape around us. Another lengthy title, well over ten minutes of dreamy discovery unroll while under the gently moving waves above. Sunlight pours in through cavernous spaces in the architecture around us and detailed interiors describe lives lived and lives to come in one self contained story of human endeavour.
Ending on This Used, an intense build-up during Zoner II leaves us feeling a little dazed. It's a good feeling, music that draws us in like this is always a skill to produce. The track spreads open like an empty beach with a solitary ice-cream van hidden behind a rolling landscape of dunes. Ghostly music with haunting bells and chimes dissipates over the windswept landscape. As we wander, aimlessly and perhaps even lost, the whispering glow of the nearby ocean keep us on our bearings. Unless, that too, is a mere mirage on this dreamcrest of sounds and intentions of sensation. Closing with a hungry rumbling, fictitious beings from the oceanic core reveal their presence from the undercurrents of our darkest visions. Rather than hurtling up the sands to devour us, they merely sit atop the waves, observing us as we stumble towards the end of the album. I can taste the wow factor.
You can listen to and buy Notanymore by Mute Branches on Bandcamp
Also you can follow Mute Branches on Soundcloud
From the author of The Electro Review - Rowan Tree Poetry Blog. Enjoy!
Rowan Blair Colver for the Homunculus Media Group
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