Lingua Lustra – Sonic Being

When it comes to the World of drones and experimental sounds most people take to the hills but then again, Canned Static is not like most people so if you are open to the new frontiers in sound, read on.

I cannot put my finger on how I came to discover this album, I may have seen the initial link on one of the ambient and experimental Facebook pages I frequent. A few weeks ago I downloaded it via Apple Music and have recently walked around for a few days (in a daze) with Sonic Being feeding my ears through a set of JBL cans.

Sonic Being

The whole album is around 55 minutes long with just 4 tracks, the shortest being just over 7 minutes. Those stats alone should give you a clue to the type of listening experience ahead.

Immersing yourself into this lovely album is an experience and almost a journey that involves your own imagination because it certainly takes you to some place, sort of astral travelling with drones and harmonics. I love the rich textures that evolve and wash over you like a warm tide.

Ambient composer Albert Borkent is the man behind Lingua Lustra and it appears he has a prolific catalogue of albums which precede this current 2019 release. The official statement accompanying this release reads “Beyond the Sentinel lies a wondrous realm of light, colour and deep oscillation”.  “Yes”, I’d go along with that, its a journey of your own mind which takes you out there and beyond.

‘Sonic Being’ is a wonderful listening experience, I’ve been immersed in a dream like state yet functioning. It’s a good place to be and unlike so many other drone clad albums, this one is warm and gently uplifting rather then falling into dark ambience like so many do.

A highly recommended listening experience that deserves to stand out in an ever crowding World of sound.

Links –

Apple Music

CD Baby

Bandcamp

The Electric Soft Parade – Idiots

 

Remembering their fantastic 2002 debut ‘Holes In The Wall’ had me bouncing off the walls and rekindling my love of of music at a time when I was lost in a cloud. I saw them live during this period at a poorly attended Leadmill in Sheffield. They were fresh faced, inspiring and simply brilliant despite a guitar amp blowing up 4 songs in and one of the brothers walking off stage in a strop only to return moments later shouting “I hate being so fucking unprofessional”.  Man, how I craved for their next release.

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Riding on a wave of success the wait wasn’t too long before second album ‘The American Adventure’ arrived in 2003 which turned out to be somewhat puzzling at first, as if a different band had turned up in the studio. With its subdued, lack luster pace and a more organic sound it was roundly slated in the music press but to be honest I grew to like the album and my all time favorite ESP track is on there, ‘Chaos’, so they were forgiven and not forgotten.

In 2007, 3rd album ‘No Need To Be Downhearted’ did the damage for me. I could not forgive and would rather forget. “What are they playing at!” With the World at their feet in 2002, a Mercury nomination and an army of fans from nowhere they could and should have moved up to bigger things yet despite the obvious route, they chose a path to the smaller circuit.

Now sat here in 2019, I’ve finally plucked up the courage to listen to their 4th release, the appropriately titled  ‘Idiots’ (2013). To be honest, the Electric Soft Parade will always be compared to that excellent debut album and that is the problem here. Choosing to change musical styles so abruptly after so much success could only do damage and by continuing to go down that same path has cemented their fate.

I truly hate to dish out negativity yet at best I would call this nice, maybe pleasant yet generally speaking I’d label this bland. Bland in terms of feeling half hearted with its polite approach. There’s no balls to any of the tracks, they’re not bad in any way and are quite cleverly arranged with the usual beautiful harmonies and progressive changes but it all amounts to nothing when it simply has no bite. I can’t relate to the lyrics to which I can only guess their target audience must me ‘middle of the road’ types, maybe PC’d up trendy cafe goers, who knows.

There was one moment I thought it would turn during the latter half of 4th track ‘The Corner of Hightown and Montefiore’, a moment of inspiration that was short lived. I could not relate to ‘Mr Mitchell’ who came down to Brighten from Dundee on a train yet complained about the motorway traffic and ‘Welcome to the Weirdness’ simply wasn’t weird enough in any shape or form.

I will listen again because despite this rant, i’ll always have a soft spot for the two brothers because I know they have got real talent under the hood. I regularly listen to ‘The American Adventure’ and I’m still waiting for that next ‘Hole In The Wall’.

The Magnetic Fields – Love at the Bottom of the Sea

 

The Magnetic Fields have been around for a while and seem to take time between releases. This, being their 10th studio album is a bit of a strange listening experience from my perspective with its short quirky songs using odd sounds under funny lyrics.

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To explain, its ‘a bit strange from my perspective’ only because I am not too familiar with the band. A quick dig around on-line threw up some interesting past recordings and I do get it. It definitely follows from their previous outings.

It can be hard to feel this album and what doesn’t help is the short time span of each track (they’re all around 2 minutes), it’s over too soon just when you’re getting into it. I also find the humour wears thin the further down the line you travel. Yes it’s quirky with a tongue in cheek slant but this becomes lost in the production line outing.

In a way I feel bad for not warming to this album because it certainly ain’t a bad one and with the clever mix mash of acoustic and electronics, taking it lightly lifts the whole experience into a more pleasurable zone.  I guess it’s a matter of taste and ‘Love At The Bottom Of The Sea’ is one of those ‘you either love it or hate it’ experiences. The stand out track for me is ‘Quick’.

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