Saturday, January 15, 2011

False Mirror – Derelict World : dark ambient

Reviewed by Gird_09

Upon seeing the cover I instantly feel sceptical, despite the desolation and dereliction it depicts. The presence of the (presumably) Norwegian fishing boat triggers some cultural code in me and I shudder with trepidation. Abandoned fishing boats have been forever linked to highly politized news casts about the poor fishermen of the northern regions who have to leave their homes for want of jobs. Well fuck them all to hell I say. A single fish is worth more to me than the entire population of those backwater shitholes.

Anyway. I am glad to see that the music is miles away from the white trash Norwegian scum I associate with fishing boats. The very first sound on the album magnificently manages to tie a knot and connect the fishing boat to the utter bleakness of the landscape behind it. It sounds like ropes being stretched and pulled, but not entirely. It speaks volumes of postindustrial decay. Smash hit.

The music itself is not too original, if well produced and deftly atmospheric. It rapidly puts me in an appropriate mood, and I find my thoughts drifting off on a tangent. I used to follow a marvellous comic series by Antonio Segura and José Ortiz called Hombre. It's a post apocalyptic world, and in one episode there are these people living in a deserted ship far from the coast. It's a powerful image of ecocide, and I imagine the winds polishing the ship sides with whirling sand and particles could sound something like this album.

The release is certainly not beyond literary comparisons, as the cover contains a twenty page booklet, complete with a short story. In terms that are at times perhaps more familiar to P.B. Shelley than "modern man" the story recounts the apocalyptic events that rendered its author stranded in a dying world. Humanity has succumbed to a horribly disastrous storm that came in from the ocean, and a single survivor is writing down his final gloomy thoughts. It's all very optimistic.

It's an ambitious release, and the tying together of literary, visual and sonic concepts in a shared theme is not lightly undertaken. Concept albums of this kind is perhaps no longer seen as the intellectual masturbation it was turned into by Pete Townshend, but still lies well beyond the interest and apprehension of the casual listener. Thank Shiva I am not one of those casual listeners, and boatloads of kudos to False Mirror for going that extra mile. Be ambitious! Aim high! Mediocre people are a waste of skin.

I also think it's worth mentioning that the disc inlay contains information about the composition of the individual tracks, both in terms of equipment used and the arrangements. I for one appreciate that greatly, certainly in music as experimental as this as it tells me what I am actually hearing. I especially love the inclusion of the Metalrohr in the first track.

All in all I have to say it's a good album. The various field recordings gives it soul, which the music otherwise wouldn't have. It's atmospheric and well crafted. The only downside is its length - as I have said about numerous releases allready. When Beethoven's ninth was used as criterum to create a standard of 74 minutes on a disc it wasn't a challenge, it was out of need. 74 minutes is usually much too long. (Beethoven is an obvious exception of course.) The exclusion of the final track would have made a perfectly functional album, while that track could have been used for promotional purposes, shelved or released at a later date. In all honesty after about 45 minutes I start to lose concentration – in spite of the truly magnificent seventh track. Don't overdo it people. Less is more.

In conclusion: While my initial expectations garnered from the cover were slightly disadvantagous due to cultural background it does in fact suit the music perfectly, and the music fits the world outside like a bullet fits a bulletwound. It's no musical revolution, but it's certainly a good album.

Malignant Records. 2010. CD Album.Germany.

1 The Vent [6:32]
2 Constand Descent [3:21]
3 Wasteland [6:09]
4 Landfall [9:00]
5 Aftermath [7:42]
6 Uncertain Shelter [8:44]
7 A sunken Dream [7:25]
8 The Sea of Oblivion [25:05]

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