back

Embracing the Glass/Haslam (CDR)

>In Cohort Records' split series we once again stumble upon two people that are new to me. Embracing The Glass and Haslam. The idea of the split series is to bring together two artists from the world of drone music and each gets about half the release, a bit like doing a split c60 cassette in the old days. Like said I never heard of either artist. Embracing The Glass is a duo of Sean Carroll and Jeff Sampson, who are together since 2001. They play guitar-controlled instruments and voice controlled instruments. They start out nice, with guitar strumming (perhaps the first time in the series?), and some sort of heavenly vocals, but over the course of their piece, which is clearly divided in several parts, the move into the darker land even a bit further, through an amorph mass of sound, through which ethnic flutes and deep synths wash their way. Here I was reminded of the work of Steve Roach and Robert Rich, but Embracing The Glass do a good job here. Haslam is one Byron Paladin who plays synthesizers and computers and he offers three pieces of more ambient material. He starts out in a true deep synthesizer mode, but over the course of his pieces he also introduces the vague humming of radiation and some rhythmical particles of say matches in a box with a firm dose of delay. However his main course is to play deep washes of synthesizer sounds on his synths, which might as well be digital versions. Highly unoriginal music, I'd say, but Haslam plays it with care. All Eno and Hypnos fly by in this trip, but it's a nice trip anyway. (Vital #579)

>A desolate loop of a lonesome soft guitar with reverb and a delay. A voice reminding my of Martin Bates. Embracing the Glass is opening this CD with “Dearly Departed” a track divided in three separate pieces. An ethereal atmosphere is breathing like morning dew, touching your skin softly when you are moving slowly in the early hours. The first part is a little like Eyeless in Gaza or may be Movie Tone; and is more towards the ambient side of post rock and moves slowly in the other part of the track. A storm is coming up and clouds covering the sun. You can hear the wind blow, whistling around the corner and torturing the windows. Were the first part was filled with smooth shifting tones with a warm voice now; Dearly Departed has become more spooky. Haslam is representing three tracks and starts with How Many Tears, a track which come over you like a warm fluid and giving a sultry feeling, soft and slow melodies caressing your mind like waves. A nice piece of Ambient that make me think of Stars of the Lid. Train of Thought is something more dark and contains sounds similar to trains like a flute from a locomotive and the sound of breaks. Myopic Dreamscape is much in the vein of How Many Tears. This is a nice split CD which comes in 100 copies only but deserves a broader audience. The music relaxing and easy to listen to and I think many people who like Post rock and ambient stuff will enjoy this CD. For those who want something more challenging there is some other stuff in this section. (Gothronic)

>Sometimes the best things in life can be found nestled in the edges; you know, peeking out of the corners, stealing glances from under the covers. Monticello, Indiana, isn't exactly the nexus for experimental music in the US by any stretch, but it is in fact the place Cohort Records owner John Gore calls home, and like it or not, what he issues from his diminuitive CDR label are the kind of aural objects you obtain fast and clutch tightly to chest, lest they vanish into the ether. Trucking in names either reasonably obscure or desperately unknown, the discrete charm of Gore's imprint means those wanting to seek out the less obvious purveyors of all things weird, whacked and wonderful can shell out very little and usually receive very much. A good chunk of the Cohort catalog (CDRs pressed in notoriously limited runs of 100, housed in complimentarily reductionist DIY paper sleeves) involves a number of split artist discs, some sharing common designs, others studies in contrast. The near 30-minute piece "Dearly Departed," by the guitar/voice duo Embracing the Glass, is the bastard child of ambient, true sons of the loop da loop era, taking the ancient Eno maxim and diverging from it at a 45° angle. Guitar controllers and voice (plus voice synths) are the fulcrum here, but the duo pull on all kinds of electrical levers. The opening 10 minutes or so comprises a simply lovely repeating guitar figure, one that would prove quite banal if it didn't sound like it was recorded in an airless void, half-glimpsed particles hovering just out of reach. Eventually the listener is lifted out of this becalming state directly into the void—the sift of extrasolar winds and sustained voices are right out of the 2001 stargate, but their immense power and suggestion of terrifying awe palpable all the same. Superb. The three fairly lengthy tracks from Haslam (one Byron Paladin) explore similar terrain. From a more purely electronic origination, Paladin largely jettisons the melancholic isolationism for studies in atmosphere. His drones are actually more monolithic than EtG, and as all-consuming echoes of Roach are evident during the shapeshifting textures of "How Many Tears," while the more solipsistic realms of "Train of Thought" are compelling enough to give even Mick Harris the shudders. Vivid and lively, Haslam"s minimal droneambient sci-fi is primed for repeated access. (ei)

>Embracing the Glass is East American duo Sean Carroll (guitar, electronics, effects) and Jeff Sampson (voice, etc), and they have been working together since 2001. This split CD-R is their third release, and features just one track by them. But what a track - it's called "Dearly Departed" and is half an hour long. Whilst the main tools used are voice and guitar, this is as far from a conventional pop record as it's possible to get - instead this is an introspective, meditative slice of magical, sepulchral ambience. In the opening section, the plangent guitar sounds and falsetto, wordless vocals bring to mind Sigur Ros - and as the piece continues, and the sounds become less recognisable, one is reminded of Nurse With Wound/Current 93's "Die, Flip or Go to India" or Popol Vuh's "Vergegenwartigung". The conception, playing and production are utterly assured. The overall feel is like being stuck inside a huge, haunted castle, straight out of Poe or Lovecraft, where nameless terrors await the unwary.On the second half of this disc are three tracks by Haslam, aka Byron Paladin, a solo artist from Jamaica Plain, Mass. Haslam's works are purely instrumental. "How Many Tears" is a huge empty space, where drones and long held tones drift in and out, in a manner similar to Eno's 2/2?. The mood darkens on "Train of Thought" with isolated, high wailing notes over low bass drones and subterranean clunks - then a train-like rhythm of filtered noise breaks in, along with muffled underground explosions, and the atmosphere becomes bleak and icy. "Myopic Dreamscape" more or less describes itself - a dreamlike, out-of-focus melange of drones and subtle melodies, which induces a pleasing state of beatific somnolence in the listener. This is a superb album of dark ambience and deep thought - the two acts complement each other perfectly, and it's very easy to become completely absorbed, and play the whole disc in one go. (Cyclic Defrost)

>Here we go with another chapter of the Cohort saga of split releases. This time, we are travelling towards lands featuring pseudo-lysergic explorations of a few remote corners of the psyche and consonant (but still pretty powerful) synthesizer-based washes of sound. Embracing The Glass is the duo of Sean Carroll (guitar-controlled sounds) and Jeff Sampson (voice-controlled sounds), creating improvised tapestries that range from quasi-religious invocations born from crystalline chords and intense vocal humming to abstract paintings where everything becomes blurred, mostly dissonant, at times characterized by reiterated electronic cascades seemingly out of a Star Trek episode yet going much deeper instead. Although not describing myself as a regular consumer of this kind of music, I surely detect love, care and seriousness in Carroll and Sampson's attitude, which means that I appreciated the track enough to like it. Haslam (Byron Paladin) responds with three pieces that one can't do better than keep playing as a nice everyday life soundtrack, since they're too simple in terms of harmonic movement to stand there and analyze them with a microscope. Still, the pulses generated by Paladin's reassuring synthetic waves are something that is felt as beneficial, never disturbing, and that's certainly positive. Sure enough I prefer no-frills, if quite elementary stuff like this as opposed to being annoyed by someone who camouflages incompetence under a pretentious appearance. (Touching Extremes)