Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A review for 'Algorithms' by Apta on

"...The opening track, “Rise” begins with muffled, ring-modulated keys laying down a stereo pattern before a long, lazy rhythm kicks in, skipping and stuttering gently. Warm keys play out a na├»ve melody in a series of notes and chords. Little backwards synths add to the depth of the soundfield. Synth glitches are played off against quiet guitar notes. A little bitterness is layered over the top by way of noise, contrasting with the sweetness of the rhythm. The track ends with a series of tiny synth sounds laid over piano. It’s a very positive, upbeat track, and a fine opener.

“Break” starts with warped guitar notes, first coiling alone, then behind a distorted pattern on keys, before they are finally dragged into an intricate pattern of almost organic textures. Once again, a slow rhythm appears, albeit completely different to that on “Rise”; it’s in the treble range, with very little by way of bass. A simple descending pattern is added as the music builds, with Fripp-ish guitar shimmering on top. The beat is manipulated, oscillators morphing and twisting the rhythm into something more metallic. A quick fade, and “Break” is over.

Halfway through, and we’re into
“Shadows”; darker in name, but musically uplifting, carrying a haunting, nostalgic melody plaintively set above glitchy electronica. The lead is reminiscent of an old, half-remembered folk tune, dragged from the dim past into the present against its better judgement, and then perched carefully on the top of an intricate base of post-rock guitar and fx. The music is an odd mix of something very old and something not so much new, but rather “now”; it probably shouldn’t work, but somehow it just does. At the end, the guitar distorts, disintegrating into nothingness.

The final track,
“To the Sky” is a peaceful, quiet mix of guitar interwoven with synths. A petite rhythm, almost childlike, grows under filigrees of untreated guitar. Briefly, strings hover at the edges, reminiscent of Eluvium. A pattern of delayed guitar appears, before being swallowed by more guitar notes, this time reversed. Broken lines of static creep in, almost morse-like, under the sound of birdsong. The EP finishes with a tiny, distant propeller aircraft fading off into the blue. It’s done so cleverly that the listener can almost see it, especially on headphones. This is definitely my favourite track here; it’s a gentle ride in the sun on the ground, before taking to the air. Absolutely lovely."

I hope my friend Baxter over at doesn't mind me cutting and pasting the majority of his review of Apta's glorious 'Algorithms'... because it is truly a great review.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

A review of The Path Between The Trees from Damian O'Keeffe

"I'll be honest, it has taken me a little time to really get to grips with this release. Not because it isn't any good; on the contrary, it is very good. More because I wasn't quite sure what it was! .../

...The sense is of someone collecting all of the key tropes of this genre, putting them in a foil-lined sack to keep them fresh, and shaking them up! As they tumble back out, forming new and interesting patterns, the beauty and scope of the work begins to emerge. .../

...I'll be honest, it took a little time to get to know Cousin Silas but now he is like a member of the family."

My dear friend Damian O'Keeffe recently reviewed The Path Between The Trees over on his blog and his kind words really made my day.

Thanks mate... I'm glad you are enjoying Cousin Silas' work and hope you'll enjoy his next album... due to drop on the 19th August.