23rd May 2014
It is always gratifying to gain access to exciting new music, and, it is also somewhat of a privilege to be asked to review material which goes beyond the norm and explores new areas. The new single from Lachenalia certainly delivers as both unique and memorable.
Stuart Estell has been working with the Lachenalia brand since 2012 and has – up until now – self released via Bandcamp. The switch to German Shepherd for this release, and a forthcoming album called “Acts & Monuments” from the same recording sessions, reflects a move away from the noise/ambient focused drone work of the previous releases to a more guitar based approach.
The instrumentation comprises guitars plus tape delay, fretless bass, and an elderly Roland CR-68 drum machine named Boris. Estell explains “It’s an attempt at using the whole-tone musical vocabulary of Debussy, Ravel etc. in a kind of Kosmische setting. The track “Leveno” is named after legendary punk/post-punk guitarist Keith Levene – he’s heard it, and likes it”.
The single release, with two fascinating remixes by Thom Soriano and Sam Underwood, provides an excellent taster for the forthcoming album. Guitar riffs repeat over minimal percussion, layers are built as sparse chords bring tension and release, there’s a dub sensibility, but with a european modernist aesthetic. The remixes flirt with a heavier dub feel together with minimal electronica, and glitch, offering a varied sonic palette across the single.
A totally refreshing sound which provides for a welcome change to my reviewing ears.
The single was mastered by Brad Boatright who also worked on the forthcoming album. Boatright is famous for his work with Sunn 0))) and other acts on the Southern Lord label.