Review of original Important Records CD version of 'Basilica'
Please note 'Basilica Origins (Deluxe) does not include the remixes referenced here
More pastoral beauty from this UK outfit, two discs this time, one of originals, record live
and in rehearsal, the other discs, remixes and reinterpretations by Robert Horton, Keith Berry,
Gregg Kowalsky and Neil Campbell.
The originals disc is maybe the breeziest and airiest to date, guitars are wreathed in reverb,
releasing glimmering notes like blowing the white fluff off dandelions, the notes swirling
and drifting, hovering over smooth glassy landscapes of warm whir, smeared synth buzz,
minimal muted melodies, warm fuzzy pop ambient style drifts, like some free folk band
covering The Orb, lilting free folk, the musical equivalent of dewy grass, autumn leaves
falling through from a grey sky, sun dappled hillsides, soft slow shifting clouds, the
day's first light, the sun making the moist grass sparkle like diamonds, viewing everything
through a frosty pane of glass, rendering everything blurred and dreamily indistinct.
Well worth the price of admission for that disc alone, but there's a whole 'nother record, four
long tracks, each of the above mentioned artists re-envisioning the originals. Robert Horton
begins with a sprinkle of angelic high end, before bringing in the lows, a series of warm
overlapping tones, barely shifting, all intertwined, into one slow organic swell, a near
static melody unwinding in slow motion, over the course of nearly 8 minutes. Keith Berry's
take is much more gritty, a gentle whirl of fuzzy streaks, muted into dreamlike murmurs,
floating within a delicate landscape of glacial lowend and buried melody. Gregg Kowalsky
turns his Rameses III source material into something jubilant and majestic, a sort of
softened Sunroof!, all bells and chimes and bell-like tones, a glorious cacophony
transformed into something less noisy and chaotic and more dense and layered, almost
like the sound of a thousand orchestras tuning up stretched into some strange sunlit raga.
And finally, Astral Social Clubber Neil Campbell stretches out Rameses III into some blissed
out spacedrone, rife with distorted guitars, long drones, high end squalls of feedback, druggy
effects, all slithering and squirming just below the surface, a surface which is a seemingly
endless Niblock-like drone, the notes and layers beating against one another creating all sorts
of subtle rhythms and strange harmonies, simultaneously static and in motion, a roiling writhing
inner space ritual.
Tuesday 3 June 2008