WORDS: Laura McCarthy
The good thing about listening to new music is that it can surprise you. New band on the block C H R I S T, with a background what generally would be considered extreme, are definitely that, with their new album T O W E R.
It has to be stated right away, if you are looking for something similar to band member’s older back catalogue in the way of THE BLACK HAND, or COBRA NOIR, then you need to keep looking. This is most defiantly a different kettle of fish as far as sound goes. This record is instrumental, and vastly slower than those bands ever produced.
The album starts with Sine, which feels like a soundscape for a Ryan Gosling film, tranquil and contemplative. It’s interesting, and very ambient. Arguably it would be easy for someone to write some really good fiction to this sound, a perfect backing to get the creative juices flowing.
Rope pulls the tone into darker waters, with inaudible vocals and longer, stretched interludes of deep guitar, with a constant drone that makes this track feel more ominous & imposing. When the melody nits itself together, the feeling of melancholy only grows. However, at 10:26 it doesn’t feel like the track is getting you anywhere until the last few minutes of the song.
Planer is equally just as subversive and deep. The beat is repetitive and the growing sense of impending doom, the slow demise of anything other than a few simply chords and a drum. You notice the pitch growing higher, the beat getting gradually faster, the bass growling with more potency than before. It’s all very measured, achingly so, yet before you know it, we hit Ornement. Once again, the beat is focused, but more fluid than the previous track, and the guitar clears its tone, becoming once again more crisp and intentional. The feeling once again shifts from dread and fear, to something softer, more like grief or regret.
It’s a different approach to be sure, to create such long pieces of music with hardly the need for vocalisation. The feeling that is derived from this album comes from a more art based perspective. It has to be listened to with the intent of just listening, thinking. It’s symbolic, rather than literal. For some, this would simply be too much like background noise, while for others, the beauty of what the band are trying to achieve lies precisely in what it lacks. Stripping back to the bare bones of sounds has its triumphs- to the right ears.
This is an interesting album, definitely for those who like to listen to a more ambient style of music, but by no means a crowd pleaser. It’s hard to visualise how this would be played at a gig and withstand an audience who would at some point be inclined to chat. However, T O W E R is a record for those looking for a journey, a movement through sound rather than a connection to lyrical familiarities. The burst of satisfaction will not come from this record, but an overall appreciation of your own emotions when listening should be an experience enough.
T O W E R is available now via L’Oeil Du Tigre