Posted on Jun 27th 2008 12:26 am
Ghostly International 2008
10 Tracks. 58mins42secs
Greg Malcolm and Chas Mossholder met in high school in the late eighties and began collaborating as Twine toward the end of the nineties, after having spent part of their formative years in various bands. Their first album, Reference, was released on AdAstra in 1999 and was quickly followed by Resource, a split album with Horchata. Since, the pair’s complex and emotional mix of glitch, dense atmospherics, reminiscent of 4AD at its haunting peak, and intricate electronic structures adorned with found sounds, has been constantly refined, redefined, and applied on three magnificent albums, released over a three year period, from Circulation (Komplott, 2001), to Recorder (Bip-Hop, 2002) and Twine (Ghostly, 2003). Since, despite being announced for over three years, Violets had remained mysteriously out of Ghostly’s release schedule, until now.
Right from the album’s opening sequence, as a lonely electric guitar is caught between a stormy backdrop and occasional dense swathes of treated guitars, Twine revive the vastly emotional and seismic soundscapes of their previous opus and continue to polish a sound which, although deeply reliant on electronics, actually focuses primarily on structural layers of electric guitars treated to various levels. Sounding like the ghost of My Bloody Valentine, stripped of distortions and noise, with its emotional essence and scope intact and laid bare, Twine weave a series of harrowingly beautiful instrumental pieces which they ornate with excerpts of phone conversations, monologues and crowd noises. On Endormie, Cranes singer Alison Shaw is found murmuring in her best French about feeling on the edge of sleep and dreams while ominous clouds of drones, treated guitars and clicks develop in the background.
As the album progresses, the atmosphere becomes denser and darker, especially on tracks such as In Through The Devices, Violets or the epic Lightrain and the minimal structures drawn by Malcolm and Mossholder feel more spacious and vast, while remaining at the same time deeply claustrophobic and oppressive. But Twine don’t content themselves with creating stark atmospheric pieces, and, deep amidst thick layers of textures flourish subtle melodies, which develop almost imperceptibly, at times eventually emerging entirely from the sonic fog and radiating glowing warmth over the pair’s post industrial formations, at others remaining hidden below the surface, growing like a cancer or snaking their way through arrhythmic pieces.
With Malcolm living in Baltimore, Maryland, and Mossholder in Boulder, Colorado, Violets was, very much like its predecessors, recorded as the pair exchanged files over the net and added layer after layer of textures and depth to their compositions. This certainly contributes to the impression of extreme fine detailing that prevails throughout. On Violets, Twine take the dense and moody soundscapes of its predecessor and amplify them, accentuate the relief and depth of their music, but, crucially, loose nothing of the emotional scope that gave their previous work its gravitas. While it has been a long wait, Violets proves that the flame that has kept Twine alive until now deserves to burn brighter than ever.