The second volume of the Mugen series brings things down a few notches for side-long sessions of brooding ambience and gradual harmonic development from TALsounds and greyghost – dear buds in different time zones, bandmates in L’Eternebre.
On “No Church,” TALsounds (Natalie Chami) crafts a meditation of synth loops and layered vocals that expands across three movements, each with a distinct atmosphere and emotional resonance. The bone-dry mix captures every moment of her live input with clarity: slow-breathing chords provide a basis for exploration, upper-register phrases fuse into tangled melodies, a keening oscillator swells and dips through the stereo spread. As her loops accumulate tones and twist back around, Natalie slowly constructs a choral arrangement of close harmonies. By the third movement, the session’s lurking unease steps into the forefront, as throbbing synth swells collide with cathartic howls and trails of delay. “No Church” represents another step forward for Natalie’s idiosyncratic musical language, and serves as a manifesto of her self-derived sonic spirituality.
greyghost (Brian Griffith) begins “A Mouth Down To Earth” with a segment of spoken word plucked from an FM radio, as if to acknowledge the presence of a world outside his home studio. The session progresses, though, in the opposite direction: a retreat from reality that sinks ever deeper into hypnotic introspection. Loops develop in time-lapse, airing their contents for seemingly infinite stretches as inklings of melody creep into the mix. What sounds at first like a synth voice proves to be Brian’s tenor bass guitar, processed into a yearning tone that cuts through the ambient lull. As the radio loop fades out, a low-end drone seizes the mix, inching us toward a coda of gentle oscillations that could, in a perfect world, last forever. Brian’s prodigious patience and attention to detail result in the classic ambient ideal: a session suited both for close listening or for a clock-slowing departure from self.
SOLD OUT on cassette.
Stream or download this release (pay what you want) on Bandcamp.