“Transcendence” – “…”
I’ve been a little bit side-tracked lately, I know; but the blog seems to have literally exploded back into full-force, and we’re now more than ever, enthusiastic about delivering as much as we can, whenever we can. Now: I’ve been side-tracked, in the respect that, I thought I might have escaped those pesky homework-demons once and [hopefully, truly] for all.
… I was wrong.
In my attempts to amalgamate what little life remains – divvied up like pie amongst hungry, starving beggars – I will in all likelihood slot back into my comfortable routine of reviewing at least one new album/EP/single a week, on the casual day of Friday, which best-suits because it’s the least dominating day of the week for myself.
Before I begin, I’d like to acknowledge that the blog’s email address [firstname.lastname@example.org] is our new receptacle for all incoming messages and links; we’ve even had peoples already contact us via this email recently, hence this review by an artist called: “…” [now I could simply replace the “…” with “ellipsis”, the grammatical-term for the enunciation of three-dots at the end/beginning/wherever of a sentence. But I’ll stick to it [“…”], it’s not a typo…
So, I’ll begin by dutifully pasting the Bio-information of our artist, so as to give you guys some further reference-material if you’re interested in listening; basically defeats the purpose of me writing, really, so this is easy on my part.
“It took the Brighton-based Swede Jakob Lindhagen, the man behind the mysterious moniker “…”, only a month to single handedly write, produce and record the debut album “Transcendence”. An achievement that becomes even more impressive considering the fact that Jakob had barely turned 20 doing it. In a true DIY spirit he’s now releasing it, digitally, all on his own.”
I think it’s prudent to underline the fact that “Transcendence” demonstrates a generous-quantity of potential [“oh no, he’s going to bag-the-shit-out-it”, everybody goes]; I’ll quote again from what I was given:
“Jakob shows with this debut a maturity rarely seen amongst newcomers, not just proving his talent but delivering as well.”
Overall, my hazardous approach towards the album can only be illustrated in the way I feel about reviewing something when asked; it’s like I’m afraid to touch it, to look at it, to criticise it, because if I do, it’s going to shatter like crystal. Hit the right nerve – the right frequency – and BAM, it’s all over.
What am I trying to say?
In the past I’ve treated something like “Transcendence” by tackling its good-points, whilst keeping a blind-eye in relation to what might be considered a negative-connotation. Perhaps it’s best to leave it up to yourselves – to figure it out when you listen – but then, I think to myself, what’s the point of writing a review about it in the first place? You’re not getting the information which leads to a definitive decision one whether or not:
a) Should I take a listen?
b) Should I buy it?
Hopefully nothing I’m writing gets taken the wrong way [knowing my luck, it probably will!], but, much like myself, I feel that “Transcendence” is stuck. Stuck, stuck, stuck, how else can I phrase it? It is dealing with some, albeit slightly experimental, interesting ambient-concepts. “Transcendence” is more like a visual-book rather than it is an album; it lacks a noteworthy chorus. But then again, most ambience does. While at the same time I feel obliged to praise “Transcendence”, I want to encourage “…” in this same, yet different, direction. Yes, it has some fine examples of musical-maturity, but just because we’ve hit the sweet-spot once, doesn’t mean we always will. I know some readers may be very-well aware of previous reviews I’ve written concerning well-thought, well-developed ambience, and those who thoroughly enjoy this kind of music are probably very well aware that it’s a touch-and-go genre; I’ve come across double the amount of ambient albums than I have reviewed, if not more, and many are just not to my liking…
“Transcendence” first struck me in the same way Kyte’s new album, “Dead Waves” did: I’ve heard it all before. Maybe I’m just ambient-ly pre-conditioned, I’m not sure. Now that I come to think about it, I did not set out intentionally to ‘bag’ or overly-criticise “Transcendence” to begin with; I had the intent of labelling its good points, and leaving it at that.
So – enough said, we’ll get on to those before the night is done:
With a total of five-tracks, “Transcendence” does resemble an EP rather than a full-fledged album-debut. However, it is wise to take into account that tracks length for around six-minutes or so, with a total-album-length of close [but just shy of] forty-minutes, standard LP Vinyl length [a little dated, but acceptable]. I would criticise this only because some might find it rather short; but I think it is deceptively long. It is increasingly difficult to separate one track and isolate it from its fellows, though – returning to the book-metaphor, reading the last chapter of a book first, everything is confusing and disjointed without the others prior. You cannot solely rate “Transcendence” on a single-track alone, it needs, it must have, its partners.
Musically, what you can expect from “Transcendence” – and what is particularly praise-worthy from “…” – is its instrumental vocabulary; expect to find a delightful mix of electric and acoustic elements. I’ll paste another passage:
“The album begins with the highly appropriate, if slightly cliché, sound of the needle hitting the record. Then it starts. The mind gets washed away by a numbing chord progression, and without fully realizing what’s going on enters a piercing melody that slowly crawls under your skin to stay. After that follows a flow of melancholic pianos, guitars; ranging from sweeping to delicately picking to aggressively attacking and everything in between along with sadly echoing glockenspiels, discrete electronic touches and astonishingly atmospheric sounds and creates deeply moving, instrumental perfection, one moment extraordinary grandiose and the other whisperingly intimate. He creates his own little ethereal universe that he brings us to and lets us visit, if only for a while. It’s a dreamy sentiment that describes something we do not fully understand.”
I agree completely; the last sentence, particularly, resonates with myself. I cannot – and I’m probably not qualified to [but then again, who truly is in this world?] – stress, articulate or convey any one jarring or emphatic moment which I might consider the pinnacle. “Transcendence” has these delicately woven little scraps of melody tied in harmoniously with one and other, which work wonderfully well by themselves, and not-all-too-fine in some instances with others. This is a moot, contradictory-point; how [the hell] does the book-metaphor relate, then?
Things are suddenly working well together, and then they’re not; the shifts from instrumental-lead to instrumental-lead jump from guitar to glockenspiel in a cautious manner, but are sometimes timidly reserved, and just not blatant enough; it lacks drive, needs power. Which is why I cannot attach myself to “Transcendence” in the slightest, and there is no particular track which I would recommend [pointless, in itself, because all of it needs to be heard, no one part can describe it simply enough].
… And here’s where I get sued; I can’t recall which famous-fellow said it’s easier to criticise than it is to praise, but he was a darn, bright-individual. I believe I’ve fulfilled my reviewing duties; you have what the artist wants you to see, and you have what I see, all bundled into one. It’s an abrupt end, and I’m going to feel sorry for posting this later [another ‘Jarvis Cocker’, me thinks?]…
The Enantiomorphic God