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Bruce Gilbert and BAW, "Diluvial"

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cover imageGilbert has not been a prolific solo artist even after departing from Wire, but whenever he has released new material, it has been of the utmost quality, and this record is no different.  A concept album on global warming and floods in collaboration with Beaconsfield Art Works (David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin) is no different.  Mixing treated field recordings and electronic instrumentation, Diluvial is another high water mark in his impressive discography.

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On pieces such as "The Void," the field recordings are either processed beyond recognition or are entirely absent, as the focus is on melodic drones that have a distinctly mournful mood them.  Bits of static and interference come through but on the whole it is a subtle composition of understated melody and beauty.  "Lights" has a similarly electronic approach, mixing dark low frequency tones with ring modulated noises and crackling static.  Even when the more dissonant elements take over in the second half, it always shows admirable restraint.  In Esse this most certainly is not.

The natural recordings do appear clearly on "The Expanse," in the form of hollow, metallic rainfall that follows aquatic sounding oscillator passages.  The closing half of the 12 minute composition is especially gentle, capturing just the most subtle sounds of water that are almost inaudible.  The exact opposite atmosphere  is drawn on "Dry Land," in which what could be arid desert winds are paired with subtle clicks and vibrations, and perfectly matching the imagery of the title.

"Beasts of the Earth" also goes for the literal interpretation of its name, with both recorded nature and synth derived insects swarming, as is the use of actual and virtual bird calls on "Creatures of Sea and Air."  Like "The Void," "Rest/Reflection" also drops the field recordings to focus on depressive, echoing electronics that perfectly channel darkness and disaster without succumbing to cliché tactics.

The aforementioned "Rest/Reflection" ends Diluvial on a perfect note, as that final composition has the ideal balance of tension and pensiveness.  Gilbert, Crawforth and Siderfin manage to capture a significant number of themes, both historic and modern, throughout this album. Creation myths and social advocacy aside, the music contained here stands on its own and serves as a reminder just how brilliant Bruce Gilbert is as an artist, and that his genius has shown no signs of reduction as time passes.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 20 October 2013 18:53  


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