Label: Gizeh Recordings
Release Date: 08/09/14
Hearing Loscil’s Endless Falls LP back in 2010 was something of an epiphanic discovery for me; the presence and tension he brought to the ambient genre felt refreshingly current. Since then my encounters with his productions have been somewhat infrequent, making the recent discovery of his collaborative ‘Fury And Hecla’ EP with Leeds based Paul Elam aka Fieldhead, all the more welcome.
Delving into the realms of ambient & electroacoustic music, opening track ‘Fury’ drip feeds the listener fragments of melancholic ambience. The result is as if the sound of a full string section were being slowly forced through a tightly-meshed filter. As the perspective gradually shifts however, vast open soundscapes are unveiled, in stark contrast to the insular melodic stutters the track begins with.
Experimentations with space and scale is a defining factor of the release generally; Loscil & Fieldhead’s droning atmospheres conjuring up vivid panoramic images of outdoor landscapes with ease. The track titles suggest this probably wasn’t a far cry from what they had in mind when writing the EP; ‘With Northerly Winds’ and ‘Northumberland’ sounding well suited their retrospective tags. ‘Hecla’ on the other hand manages both to call to mind the aforementioned wide open spaces, and somehow feel naggingly claustrophobic all at the same time. The close, abrasive buzz of an amplifier hums persistently, as lo-fi cello’s disintegrate around Fieldhead’s mournful orchestral loop.
The real jewel is the crown however comes in the form of ‘Home’; Fieldhead’s rambling, docile melody offset with the crackle of vinyl and percussion so feather-light at times it almost slips out of focus entirely.
With ‘Fury & Hecla’ Manchester based label Gizeh has managed to bring together two acts defining the ambient genre on their own terms. Both afford it the dynamics and intensity it needs to stand alone as genre, outside its rather unfortunate association as mere ‘background music’. As far as I’m concerned, this alone is reason enough to add the DIY label to my ones to watch list for 2014.