BUILD BUILDINGS: Ceiling Lights From Street (Ben Tweel)


Posted on Sep 12th 2008 12:18 am

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Build Buildings: Ceiling Lights From Street

Ceiling Lights From Street
Ben Tweel 2008
12 Tracks. 44mins22secs

It’s been four years since Ben Tweel’s exquisite There Is A Problem With My Tape Recorder was published, charting a series of smooth and elegant impressionist electronic landscapes. While comparisons to the likes of Four Tet or Opiate abounded, none really did justice to the wafer-thin draperies and delicate melodic formations he assembles.

With Ceiling Lights From Street, the first Build Buildings release since last year’s collaborative EP with Marlo Bright, Tweel crafts another fine collection of gentle electronica all in nuances and undertones. Tweel is affected with synaesthesia, a relatively common neurological disorder which triggers spontaneous associations between two or more senses. Far from being an affliction though, synaesthesia has been used in art by people as diverse as Arthur Rimbaud, György Ligeti, Franz Liszt or Vladimir Nabokov amongst others. For this album, Tweel, who has sound-colour synaesthesia, explores a range of sounds that triggers his brain to associations with reds, purples and pinks. It is worth mentioning that, while the condition is not such a rare phenomenon, and that it can affect all five senses in various ways, the association are very likely to be entirely personal.

The resulting soundtrack effortlessly progresses through quietly luxuriant forests of sounds, wrapped around intricate micro rhythmic formations, where melodies form and vanish at the blink of an eye, flourishing into subtle riches in between. It is with such brushes that Tweel evokes moments of intense peace and calm. It is the bright warm sunshine of a lazy summery afternoon that percolates through the soft wind chime-like radiance of Islands, Finding Seeds or Skatal, while the more defined sonic components of pieces such as the elegant A Solar Panel, Letter Codes or Ilicoastal seem to find their roots in the crisp freshness of an early spring morning.

Tweel’s attention to detail seems almost obsessive. While the whole album evolves within a defined sonic range, giving it a very consistent feel, each sound appears as if it has been designed to fit in precisely where it is found and tuned to blend perfectly with its surrounding without ever becoming stale or losing its original sheen. Tweel’s beats are equally as complex and bubble with sparkling details, adding some extremely refine touches throughout.

It is rare that unsigned artists achieve such level of perfection, and Ben Tweel certainly gives much more established artists a serious run for their money. With his previous full length effort, he had established a very confident sound. Four years on, he has matured and grown considerably, and the result is, quite simply, a quietly magnificent record.


Build Buildings
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