Scratched Glass, "Two"

Sunday, 30 July 2017 00:00 Creaig Dunton Reviews - Albums and Singles
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cover imageAs a follow-up to 2015's debut EP, the duo of multimedia artists Nicol Eltzroth Rosendorf and Jonathan Lukens expand on the ambiguity and sparseness on Two, while still showing marked development and innovation in their work.  With their sonic palates expanded and a determined focus, the final product is an album that conveys a significant amount within its somewhat minimalistic framework.

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With nine pieces spread over two sides of a cassette, there is a clear sense of two distinct suites of music, joined together but with each half developing and evolving on its own as a distinct organism.  The slow, bleak opening of "Wolf Tone" sets the stage as sparse yet deliberate.  Bleak melodies are perceptible, but low in the mix, to give a nicely haunting sense of space.   This transitions into "Duet," which sees the duo adding an intentionally erratic kick drum into the already complex layered structure.  The layers swell and retreat, providing a strong contrast to the more strident rhythms that stab through.

The overt beats retreat on "Circularity of Action," but the piece comes together as a science fiction tinged composition, with hollow machinery noises reverberating throughout a cold, clinically clean space.  The piece does not move as much as drift on its own inertia, and although the piece is extremely rich and complex, there is an unabashed frigidity to the music.  The closer of side one, "Null," is a brief respite that ends the first half very well.  Instead of the icy space that preceded it, it is more of a warm, pleasant cloud of sounds that slowly fill the space and concludes the first half on a calm note.

On the other half, Rosendorf and Lukens start off big with "Tremendum."  Multiple passages of dissonance and melody intersect, propelled by a rumbling low end and expansive mid range of sound.  The sound is a bit of everything, but never discordant or chaotic in nature.  Instead it is a strong balance of noise and tone, and covers the Scratched Glass school of sound perfectly.  Comparatively, "Manifest" is a bit more understated, and has a pleasant murk to it, with the two weaving in a nice passage of feedback-like chaos to contrast the calmer moments.

"Perverse Instantiation" features a return to rhythm, though much less conventional than heard on "Duet."  Instead the work is more an examination of textures, with a continual shift between the more musical facets of the band’s sound, and their occasionally abrasive approaches.  This transitions into "Gold," although at this point there is a greater sense of space and expanse.  The harsher elements build slowly simmering and eventually become the primary focus.  The second half of Two is tied up nicely on "Normative", a slowly lurching piece that pulls the entire tape together handily.

Scratched Glass’ debut was a good bit of ambiguous sound and composition, but Two feels like a more fully realized work.  The strongest elements of the first tape are still here: a blending of dichotomous sounds, but the whole is stronger this time around.  While I would have enjoyed hearing Rosendorf and Lukens flirt with rhythms a bit more as they did on "Duet," the nuanced and constantly evolving sound on this tape is extremely effective in its own right.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 29 July 2017 09:19