"I Could Not Love You More" cover

Album released 2009 on Type (vinyl, CD, digital: 2009) / Blink in the Endless (Bandcamp only: 2016)


Foxy Digitalis


I don't generally find much value in principles of fate. Additionally, as much as I love Type Records, I find it impossible to keep up with the steady gush of eclectic audio issued in the way of CDs and often irritatingly limited LPs. What I don't manage to purchase physically—and now I must confess—I listen to for free. Thanks to the label's new website format, all albums are available for streaming in their completeness—and this is how I came to first hear "I Could Not Love You More". But returning to the role of fate in my life, only one day after listening to this album several times consecutively during my workday (and simultaneously deciding this is one Type release I must actually own), I receive my surprise parcel from Foxy Digitalis, stuffed with beautiful new musical nuggets for my review. In the mix was—you might have now guessed—this copy of the new Rameses III album. After opening the package, I might have done a little dance and given a nod and wink to Shai.

This new LP is something of a pleaser. The overall mood is tender, reflective, calm, etc. The orchestration is mostly quiet, and though the album is greatly dynamic, things move very slowly, so you can relax for this listen—no violent percussives or blasts will drop on you from above. The trio plays seven tracks over the period of 57 minutes, so each track has plenty of time to construct, manifest the effect of its presence, and then gracefully dissolve. "I Could Not Love You More" is rife with mysterious sounds and tones, but when we hear the guitar, its presence stark against a background of obscurity, the effect is enough to conjure sharp imagery of fields and . And the sum of all these sounds is so succinctly expressed by the album's title: love. Even at its most somber of points, the album holds to its oath of love.

"I Could Not Love You More" is slightly front-heavy. That is, I find that I'm perfectly comfortable turning it off after the first five tracks. My two favorites after just a few listens are tracks two and four. Track two, "Across the Lake is Where My Heart Shines" is a slowly unfurling piece that opens with deep, obscured chiming tones, drifting on a vast plane of reverberation. Eventually, what sounds like a French horn begins to call every few seconds, gently stating the same note over and over, but somehow doing this in a way that is never tiresome. Joining the orchestra finally is this highly nostalgic iteration of notes plucked on an acoustic guitar. The sum of the compositions and instruments makes for a candidate for frequent replay. Track four, "No Water, No Moon" begins in a much quicker fashion—guitar and what I think is banjo begin a jaunty tune straight away (as jaunty as you can get with this band, try to imagine). Loping electric guitar whines in the distance, maybe in an expression of sorrowful longing for the subject of this intense Eros. Though the track begins in such a pluck-heavy manner, it mid-way dissolves into a procession of drones, field recordings (sea gulls aplenty), and vocal howls, restating the intense longing. A short breather, and the band returns to plucking the guitars. A lovely tune, and listening to it, I'm reminded of the people in my life that I love. So either I'm sentimental or the band has really got something here. I won't dwell on that one.

The end of "I Could Not Love You More" is not keeping me engaged quite as successfully as the first five tracks did. The last two tracks are 10:21 and 11:19, respectively. Now, in the world of experimental music, this is by no means too long, but in contrast to the rest of the album, these two are longer than the others, and they also happen to be the two least dynamic on the album. The title track, "I Could Not Love You More", while a pleasant drone excursion featuring some meandering guitar expressions, stays in the same place for nearly the entirety of the track. The final track is another pleasant-sounding one, but it accomplishes very little with the time it takes up on the album. These two alone aren't enough to shake lose the anchor this album now has in my weekly rotation, but I do kind of get the feeling that the band might have extended the tracks just to fill out a time-space. Maybe not—but I'm suspicious.

Even with its few faults, "I Could Not Love You More" is still a powerful expression of love through music. I'm so glad musicians have rediscovered the capacity that music, sans the trite lyrics, can have in accomplishing this task. With Fall upon us and the evenings descending earlier each day, it seems like another turn of fate that this album should become available right now. It's the perfect cure for otherwise depressing darkness, because even though drone often seems to exist in a dark place, Rameses III have managed to extend the sunset, and in such a lovely way.

Michael Jantz
Tuesday 22 September 2009

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