Amazing album from one third of Rameses III on Home Normal
As one third of Rameses III Daniel Thomas Freeman has contributed to the band's surging
orchestral drones, viscerally alive with raw energy all framed in a kind of faded vintage
imagery. Their full lengths have seen releases on Type, Digitalis and Important Records.
The pinnacle of which can be argued to be 'I could not love you more', seeing a real blending
of their acoustic guitar, Mellotrons and electric pianos elements into a blurred fabric;
romantically nostalgic and hauntingly beautiful.
'The Beauty of Doubting Yourself' sees a release on Home Normal, and documents six years of
Freeman's experience with depression and coming out the other side of it. The emotion it
covers - anxiety, fear, self-doubt - has a story arc which starts amongst the darkest moments
of Freeman's mental state 'Dark House Walk' and works through each track towards feelings of
hope, resolution, and catharsis - 'Staring into the Light'.
The 25 minute long behemoth 'Staring into Black Water' is a thing of real beauty. Dark
drones, skittering clicks, blacker than the blackest black which swirl as if Freeman is
bending air particles with magnetic fields, coursing with the same grating energy that we
heard on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume 2. Somewhere across the water we hear
bird calls adding an atmosphere similar to Deaf Center's recent 'Owl Splinters' (a reference
finding foundation elsewhere in the album for the cello playing for example on 'The Might of
Angels') or Solo Andata's 'Ritual'. Ending with sounds recorded at Padstow Beach in Cornwall,
on a day when the sea is as grey as the cloud heavy skies above it, the physicality of this
track is humbling, like standing a top a mountain and looking down.
For a contrast, and change of pace, the title track presents irregular patterns of shimmering
or rattling notes, hard to put your finger on exactly what the source or instrument is, but
notably the melody and rhythm shifts in the layers in a similar sense to that of Boards of
Canada's 'Zoetrope'. The electrical 'The Devil Would Steal Your Joy' features a chamber
choir backdrop, followed by a track written for the artists' mother 'Elegy and Rapture
(For Margaret)' - as if Freeman revisits past memories, events and inspirations to find
resolutions. 'Staring into the Light' is a stirring finale, conveying the feeling of
emergence and recovery.
As a description or account of the experience of being under 'depression', the beauty that
has emerged in these tracks is exquisite. Freeman passes on the feeling of catharsis, and
resolution of past demons; knowing that the un-mapped mind is a powerful entity, not to be
ignored, or paraphrased into a single word such as depression. We clearly have another
contender for album of the year.
Tuesday 12 July 2011