Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Album Review - blood blood - sunday/worship

Layers amongst layers; sunday/worship  by blood blood, the solo effort by Davey Gwynne (who is one thirds of the collective Machines in Heaven) can be listened to anywhere on anything, but to get the full effect of his vision and what Davey is trying to achieve, headphones are definitely recommended for an experience like none other.  If deep space needed a soundtrack, Gwynne would be the first one aboard the shuttle to the studio.

The various ambient layers, created by huge sounding productions and vocals that occasionally drift in and out, create an orchestrated thunderstorm.  Image the scene from The Never Ending Story  when The Nothing wipes away the universe.  This album should be the soundtrack to that; a delicate, serene aftermath but somewhat dark and mysterious.

With most songs clocking in at an average of four minutes or more, sunday/worship  should be appreciated for its time and its ability to go the distance.  Gwynne didn’t want to create something using only a small amount of his talent; just by taking a short listen, it is evident he wanted to jump in to the deep end, feet first, and the way this album unfolds, proves he most certainly did.  Listen to each track carefully and don’t expect everything, but be on the lookout for anything.

One of the best tracks on the album, tribe-hell,  give the listener a glimpse in to what is in store for everyone. Pounding drums and a huge arena sound, this is a track meant to be played when the festival is coming to a close and everyone in the audience has time to reflect on what they just experienced.  Massive synth sounds and a climax that may or may not come give the listener a perfect aural setting for self-reflection and to make themselves aware of their surroundings.  For those who doubt an album isn’t complete without lyrics, listen to this whole song, and as it comes to a brilliant end. it will make you a believer.

leeloo  on the other hand, gives you a completely different side to Gwynne's sound production and thought process.  The hi-hat presence gives this track an airy, lighthearted vibe, coupled of course with the angelic vibes from the keyboard/synth provide almost a pop value.  It reminds me of those emotional video game moments; where Link and Zelda meet for example; but there is still this underlying sense it could all change, all be over in the blink of an eye.  Music can imitate life, but have you ever thought that life can imitate music?

With all the prettiness aside, the use of various sounds and tones give this album a somewhat creepy vibe, as the various vocal samples, synths, drum machines and bass rhythms come together to form an idea of a deep, dark cave, but with a light coming from the distance, ushering you to walk through the darkness to try and find its source.  The vocals, which are scattered throughout the album, follow suit with the music; ambient, layered, perfectly placed but haunting; as if he is deliberately telling the listener that the lyrics and vocals don’t really matter much, they are just their to heighten the overall aural experience.  Lyrics can sometimes be a distraction in some cases, so for this instance, why not let the music do the talking?

Throughout the album there is a great percussive presence; sounds and beats come together to create something much more then just drums, a pattern if you will.  But it is the underlying synth that takes centre stage.  Synths that just seem to tear you apart at the seams; the low end that makes you uncomfortable, but strangely attracted to what he has to offer; this is the definition of sunday/worship,  getting out of your comfort zone to experience something quite powerful and beautiful.

Gywnne knows how to properly layer sounds so that the deep, low bass is effective throughout and doesn’t drown out every other magical sound he creates.  Synths can be overused, and in a lot of cases they are, but with this album, they are utilised to perfection; to create an atmosphere in your mind only top professionals at NASA and CERN can conceive of, but now you can as well.  An outer world vibe brought home; now we can all feel how astronauts felt not only when they saw the Earth from above for the first time, but when they are sent back home for a safe landing.

- Mike Greenwood

blood blood - sunday/worship  is available as a free download here.

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