a double new review of Rapoon "Time Frost" by BRAINWASHED and REGEN MAGAZINE!
Written by Matthew Spencer
Sunday, 02 December 2007
"Two of ambient music's greatest strengths are conjuring up isolated locations and immense timelines. In Time Frost, Robin Storey uses them to imagine a Europe chilled by ocean currents altered by global warming. It is easy to be cynical about climate change as an artistic subject considering its status as Hollywood's pet-cause of the moment. Time Frost does something far more satisfying: it calls to mind vivid images that do not need to be interpreted through an ideology.
Considering the chilly subject matter, the album has a thick, full bodied sound. Storey used an old vinyl copy of Strauss' Blue Danube for much of the source material. Even though the piece is digitally processed beyond recognition, the richness of the orchestra and the snowy crackle of the record still remain. That analogue glow colors the sparse, unaccompanied loops, providing variety to the simple, repetitious song structures. Even in the arid, droning "Horizon Discrete," the fluidity of Strauss' music remains intact, like the wind blowing up drifts from a glacier.
The hypothetical waste-land that Storey envisions is not featureless and uniformly hostile. The time lapse waltz of "Thin Light" elegantly evokes a winter sunrise. Bubbly synthesizers mimic a thick, wet snow-shower in "A Color of Darkness." Without shouting the message, these tracks suggest that the world's beauty will continue, even if it becomes too hostile for us to live on it.
Despite a personal affinity for the natural world, music with environmental themes has always struck me as cheesy. Although the destruction humanity inflicts on the planet is truly dramatic, it is easier to make an episode of Captain Planet than a nuanced work of art. By remaining ambiguous, however, Time Frost has a much better chance of aging well than the bloated pontifications of Live Earth. Even if global warming is not your crusade, you can still sit back and enjoy this album. No moralizing is required."
Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2007
By: Matthew Johnson
"Assistant Editor Manipulated Strauss samples evoke a frozen Danube River on Robin Storey's latest offering.With Time Frost, Rapoon founder (and former Zoviet France member) Robin Storey explores the idea of a future European ice age. Taking the iconic Danube River as his starting point, Storey imagines the river frozen solid. Marrying the imagery with the music, Storey takes sampled snippets of Johann Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz" from vinyl lock grooves, loops them over one another, and processes them in the studio. The result is less static than one might expect, but then again, ice itself isn't as static as it appears. It grinds against itself, breaks off into sheets, compresses, forms ridges. Likewise, the fuzzy looped string tones of opening track "Glacial Danube" are similarly dynamic, degrading in time as they pan across the stereo channels. It's actually disconcerting, the way one tone will cut off sharply on one channel as another begins simultaneously on the other, sharp and jarring as frostbite. Things go deeper on "Thin Light." The sound degrades less, because there's less of it to degrade; the high end, the tinny treble, is gone now, leaving only the icy depths and the melancholy mid-range. "A Darkness of Snow" deepens things further, tempting sleep with slow rolling distortion, and while "Horizon Discrete" starts off with the tension of sustained violins, it ends with a deep, almost oceanic drone. These admittedly fascinating pieces are, in a way, mere preludes to the final track, the half-hour epic "Ice Whispers." Though it utilizes similar sounds and techniques to the earlier tracks, its length gives Storey the chance to move things at the truly glacial pace its subject matter deserves. Beginning with the omnipresent loops of scratchy violin, it fades into a deep, distorted tranquility, eventually adding hints of echoing clatter, like ice cracking under its own weight and amplified by the natural reverb of permanent winter. Storey's frozen landscapes do an excellent job of melding sound with concept, and if Time Frost is at times stark and inhospitable, it's a testament of how well he has executed his concept."