Friday, 14 May 2010

Mandelbrot – Effect/Delay [Highpoint Lowlife]

Highpoint Lowlife makes a slight departure with this one, unleashing some noisy guitar drenched splattergedon and forgoing the electronica for a moment with an album from Keung Mandelbrot. He’s gone for the one take fly by the seat of your pants approach utilising the ‘10 fingers, 6 strings, 18 pedals, and no overdubs’ method to record the four tracks, which veer from the sublime and dreamy to the raw and abrasive sometimes all at once.

Opening track ‘Effect/Delay’ filters in with a riff that quickly descends into noisy loops and burnt out psychedelics. Layers of sound rush in all directions, dissident but with an otherworldly beauty and purpose: Like a noisier extended guitar solo that got out of hand from the Pixies track ‘Vamos’ and accidentally came loose from its hyper-punk ties as Santiago got more and more adventurous, attaching a rocket to his guitar which then drifted off into orbit, and they’ve just let it go… to have a life of its own floating up there never to return to the lucrative business of rocking stadiums as a reformed cult band’s favourite solo.

The extraterrestrial vibes continue on ‘Hope/Delay’ – Blissful loops and twinkling soundscapes surge into a dissident wall of noise before melting out of the intensity into an altogether more sinister, melancholy plateau, which again gives way to surges of blistering sound. Post-rock progressions and noise drenched passages sit side by side in an ever-evolving cycle of sound. The otherworldly charm only broken by the uneasy atmosphere of ‘Nervous/Delay’, which really does live up to its name: nagging tonal glitches buzz and tweak into different shapes. It’s the sonic opposite to the dreamy moments on Effect/Delay and maybe too much for some but the mood quickly switches as the smouldering ‘Twilight/Delay’ creeps into action: the frazzled guitar sounds like a burnt out mess of wires. Firing on empty cylinders before burning out into bursts of noise, from exhausted struggle to final exhilarating push. It’s something to behold, a slow moving cathartic release executed in style.

Effect/Delay is an experimental noise record that still manages to sound accessible, for every abrasive face splattering section there is another of melodic bliss. It never feels self-indulgent either. Mandelbrot keeps it dynamic with ever shifting moods and subtle progressions, holding your interest the whole time playing with your emotions with a visceral sonic pallet. A mesmerising set piece showing versatility and vision but overall an engaging ride.

Buy: Mandelbrot – Effect/Delay [Highpoint Lowlife]

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