FABRIC: A Sort Of Radiance / BEE MASK: Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico (Spectrum Spools)

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Posted on Mar 24th 2011 12:54 am

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Fabric: A Sort Of Radiance Bee Mask: Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico

FABRIC
A Sort Of Radiance
SP001
Spectrum Spools 2011
09 Tracks. 32mins59secs

BEE MASK
Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico
SP002
Spectrum Spools 2011
02 Tracks. 28mins45secs

A Sort Of Radiance
Amazon UK: LP | DLD US: LP | DLD Boomkat: LP | DLD
Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico
Amazon UK: LP | DLD US: LP | DLD Boomkat: LP | DLD

Set up in collaboration with Editions Mego, Spectrum Spools is a new imprint from Emeralds’ John Elliott dedicated to ‘current, past and future electronic music works of the highest quality’, presented in glorious vinyl-only releases. With an inaugural set of releases counting the most recent efforts from Chicago-based musician Matthew Mullane, who, while best known as a guitarist, is also regularly found toying with electronics, and the latest installment from Chris Madak’s Bee Mask, Spectrum Spools positions itself as an imprint with a taste for sprawling electronic works. Both demonstrate an undeniable affinity with experimental electronic music as it was in its early days, when mavericks such as Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry or Karlheinz Stockhausen were pioneering new forms of music in the fifties, sixties and seventies, or when the following generation was bringing it to the masses through the kosmische movement of the seventies. But it is what Matthew Mullane and Chris Madak do with these influences which is remarkable, each using vintage electronic forms into very contemporary settings.

Mullane’s debut full length as Fabric, A Sort Of Radiance, follows two cassette-only split-releases with Charlie Eppley and Sparling Wide Pressure respectively. Here, he collects a series of refined atmospheric electronic pieces, some barely lasting a minute or two, yet, while each track is presented as a standalone piece, there is great consistency of sound throughout the record. Although incidental melodies occasionally materialise, this is not the primary concern here. Instead, Mullane assembles exquisite soundscapes, some entirely devoid of any rhythmic form (Left, Containers), others taking shape around hypnotic pulses (Leaving The House, High Ceilings, Light Floats), all delicately textured and rendered. While these tracks often develop over enough time to allow for gentle transitions between different stages of a piece, Mullane constrains them to a few minutes at the most, cutting short any lasting hypnotic effect in favour of a succession of dreamy sequences, each bringing a different tone to the overall recording.

Originally released as a C30 cassette a year ago, the splendidly titled Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico is a magnificent exercise in progressive kosmische, brushed with occasional hints of music concrète. The album is split into two tracks of pretty much equal length, each charting slightly different terrains.

Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico I opens with what very much sounds like bowed bells upon which come crashing strange coughing noises and waves of bubbling electronics until, three and a half minutes in, one of these soundwaves overwhelms everything and flickers for a while until it progressively retreats to reveal a much barer, more organic plateau. Madak continuously alternates between overtly electronic squiggles and squelches on one side and more poised moments on the other, at times letting rudimentary melody or reflective moments to briefly take shape. Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico II is a more contrasted piece, with a far less linear progression. Tense clusters of noise are followed by various electronic arpeggios, which are in turn overpowered by more crushing noise formations. This continuous re-configuration never occurs twice with the same intensity or follow the same logic. Such randomness makes for a rich listening experience, which owes as much to the pioneering electronic experimentation of Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry as to the expensive electronic epics of early Tangerine Dream.

With these first two releases, Spectrum Spools is already proving a rather promising new platform. While Bee Mask has already built up a strong set of releases, Canzoni is only his second made available in a format other than cassette. Its impressive scope and level of maturity are quite staggering though and while Fabric’s debut may be more restricted, Matthew Mullane’s approach is vastly different making these two essential records extremely complementary somehow.

A Sort Of Radiance: 4.4/5 / Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico: 4.7/5

Matthew MullaneSpectrum Spools
A Sort Of Radiance
Amazon UK: LP | DLD US: LP | DLD Boomkat: LP | DLD
Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico
Amazon UK: LP | DLD US: LP | DLD Boomkat: LP | DLD

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One Response to “FABRIC: A Sort Of Radiance / BEE MASK: Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico (Spectrum Spools)”

  1. […] sister label Spectrum Spools, curated by Emeralds’ John Elliott, with a stunning LP, Canzoni Dal Laboratorio Del Silenzio Cosmico earlier this year. While the album had originally appeared on cassette a few months earlier on […]