Saturday, 19 September 2015

Frolicking In Field Hymns

I don't talk about them as much as I should, but one of my favourite labels of the last couple of years is the outre electronic bathysphere that is Field Hymns, constantly finding outlier synthetic sonics to stroke the brain and stimulate the soul. This morning I am enamoured by the 8-bit via cerebral ambient malaise that is Three Fourths Tigers' Indoor Voice.

The title track opens up proceedings, and somehow manages to be cavernous and intricate in synapse-frying scope. But its the dial-tone (both regular and irregular) that permeates the nebulous cryogenic lagoon that is 'Line Connector' where we realise something unique is happening here; it is a psychotropic mind melt in the first half, before holding a note like a cut-off tone before surreptitiously dipping into ambient analogue modulation. 'Windows Excel' is a more "traditional" kosmiche undulation, taking tantric synth into wide, spacious realms - an oddly soothing psychedelic suspension. 'Petrifloral' is almost pastoral in its ebullient waves, both synthetic language and organ epiphany. 'Rainbow Russ' is the score to a existential point-and-click emotive adventure, all VGA colours and vivid imaginations. 'Visitor Sphere' takes the bubbling brook motif that a lot of naturalistic sound collagers use as a carpet foundation to build more expansive, mindbending constructions, but here is allowed to complement a somewhat simplistic sonics to energise an otherworldly terrain - both field recording and satellite sound capture. The wonky buzz and hum that opens 'Other Landings' evokes the ascent/descent of extra-dimensional craft, before a bell rings off and silence, other than an oscillating permutation and a ringing presence persists - a fluttering middle-ground, a floating stasis within the mind, everything out of sync, focus, weightless ambiguity. Finishing with the slow-building amalgam of electro-futurist pioneers that is 'Ensphynx', Indoor Voice is a stunning piece of work.

But I feel remiss if I don't mention some of the other recent releases the label has pushed, especially after my post on Brisbane fringe dwellers FEET TEETH yesterday. There is Murmurs and Echoes from Norway's Andreas Brandal, which somehow manages to inhabit the iconic realm of the Spaghetti Western score made famous by Ennio Morricone, and make it a mechanised Other, with flourishes from introspective, ancient Japanese folk, immolating tape, scraping metal on deserted concrete floors, and latter-day Earth-esque meandering sunburnt instrumentals. I actually love this release more than Indoor Voice - but came to it later. Seriously though, it is bloody breathtaking.

Then there are these two - the Krautrock-via-Pink Floyd dream that is The Snowfields' new album How To Get Good Sound From A Dead Ear; and The Man Who Drank God, the truly warped parallel universe lost recordings of a death cult that is Ak'chamel The Giver Of Illness.

Field Hymns are always pushing the boundaries, confronting and consuming, and will always be worth your time.

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