Author Topic: Drone On's review of "Let the Stars Assume the Whole of Night" CD by Caul  (Read 503 times)

drone on

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I know a few on the forum are going to disagree with me here, but to be honest I've found it very hard to get into Caul's Hypnos debut "Let the Stars Assume the Whole of Night."  This album almost became the second Hypnos CD I never bought (the other one which I still haven't bought is Herion's "Out and About").  Like the Herion disc, "Let the Stars" is, to me at least, very far away from my notions of ambient/electronic music.  Instead, it's a very structured "electro-acoustic" sounding recording (although the acoustic instruments seem sampled/synthetic), with elements of world, classical, and soundtrack music.  Yes, it indeed does remind one of an alternative soundtrack to a David Lynch film, as mentioned in the press release.  The excellent film composer Cliff Martinez also comes to mind.  I would characterize the album as "avant-garde soundtrack music meets post-rock, with a gothic/classical element."  In general, let me say, the music is very well done, and I can appreciate it from a technical standpoint.  Tracks like "Radiance Falls" and "The Sparkling Snow is Full of Roses" sound like the legendary post-rock UK band Bark Psychosis, with the dusky jazz drums and twangy guitar, and employing other sounds like wordless female vox, cellos, bells, and piano.  The mood here is "subdued."  A couple of the tracks reminded me of Dead Can Dance and are very good: "We Are LIke Heartless Shadows" and "Words of Praise Arise, Like Flowers" employ gothic Lisa Gerrard type vocals with a funereal drum beat on one, and the jazzy Bark Psychosis drums on the other.  "Just One Autumn For Ripe Songs" reminded me of Harold Budd with its piano phrasing (speaking of Budd, I think he would KILL for these poetic track titles!).  Only a couple tracks--"Upon the Vines" and "Bells Ring Softly in the Twilight Air"--employ the dark ambient spooky electronic drone sounds one would expect of a Caul release.  So, overall I did enjoy this album, however I'm not sure it's something I would go back to again and again.     

mgriffin

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For what it's worth, I don't have any problem with this sort of review at all. From the way you describe the music, it's clear you understood what he was trying to do, and that you "got it." This just wasn't your favorite kind of music.

As to the more general matter of Hypnos releasing some different sounding music, I'd say yes... it's by design. I still love minimal, drony "pure ambient" music and Hypnos will still release as much of that as anybody else does, if not more. I think it's necessary for the survival of the label to diversify a little. We'll always make sure to be honest in our descriptions of each album, so nobody is misled about what a given album sounds like, and of course there will always be MP3 sample clips.

It might be a discussion for another place, but I'd be curious if more of our listeners would prefer we stuck to releasing music in the core of our stylistic focus (sleepy, quiet and minimal ambient) or if we widened our aim a little. Maybe I'll create a separate topic to gather opinions.
[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

drone on

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Thanks for understanding, Mike.   ;)

I like writing about the music I collect, and I try to be honest in my reviews.  Hopefully this kind of review isn't necessarily seen as negative, but more informative and descriptive.  It's true I tend to gravitate towards the more classic ambient style .  With a name like Drone On, I think my stylistic preference is not hard to figure out.    ;D