Firstly I should apologise for the tardiness of my review. In my defence I must say that the album has been on pretty constant rotation in the car since it arrived ten days ago.
It's a robust piece of work. The tracks flow seamlessly one into another, but avoid a feeling of sameness - the album has several moods. It also seems to draw on different genres. "International Incident" for instance kicks off with some atmospheric soundscaping before a quite dance-oriented beat kicks in. This is expertly cross-faded into the short "Sequential Illumination" which is filled with the sounds of circular saws and other engineering works. The ambient "Narrow Band Imaging" similarly flows into "Empire Beyond The Seas", which has more of a Jean-Michel Jarre feel with sequenced bass and subtle drumming. t even seems to feature a distorted guitar! As a first side this suite works so well together. Even a track that claims to be 6 minutes in length seems to be gone as soon as it has arrived. A good thing in my book - a long song should not feel as if it is hanging around.
Side two (as it were, in fact "Acts in the Name of God" flows out of its predecessor just as all the others have) opens in a more abstract, almost beatless mode, with vocal samples hidden among the sounds of birds and a swinging door. (This is much better than I'm making it sound!) The found sounds are skilfully woven into the music before the reflective title track emerges. Beautiful elements of world musics used here. "A New Hope" retains the ping-pong players whose game started during the previous track but gradually builds a sequenced track over the top. Another smooth segue takes us into the final track, "Human Nature". The table tennis game continues but a drum beat intervenes and the track gradually builds into a crescendo with Churchill's famous speech sampled.
Finally, I cannot over emphasize how good this is, how complete an album it seems. As it plays it doesn't ever feel that this is borne of a series of instrumentals simply hung together, they really seem to flow from one movement of a whole to the next.
I cannot wait for the next one.
the artist formerly known as comrade moleskin