We are, we were and we will have been
The reverberating glaze that floats over each element in "Time Regained" dominates so heavily that when vocals appear, (which happens maybe 7 minutes into the track), it's surprising. Its understated snare loop and airy plucked strings remain obscured beneath the mire as vocalist/guitarist Mike Vest chants from his throat, "We are giants in time."
While enormity will likely stand as the most significant and noteworthy aspect of this album, and any Bong album for that matter, the time spent on
building atmosphere, either through ethereally bathed guitar effects and
synthesized tones or sporadic thumps of a tom drum and the distant
splash of a cymbal, is what I find most engaging. Hence my enjoyment of the album's second (and closing) track, "Find Your Own Gods," its slo-mo bass rep and tonal liquidity sort of sinister in spite of an overall glow that the track exhibits. As instrumental and sonic elements continue to gather while the track progresses, heightening its volume and thickening its composition, its closing moments soften quickly, eventually leaving only a light synthesized melody in its wake. It's the type of tonal journey that bounces throughout the grey matter, long after the music's stopped.
Temporary Residence Ltd.
Mastered by Bob Weston (Shellac, Mission of Burma), The Clearing features Christian Frederickson of Rachel's, Kyle Crabtree of Shipping News, Scott Morgan (Loscil) and Helen Money to new a few, all of whom build upon Grimes' minimalist piano-centric vision. "The Clearing" best demonstrates an instance when Grimes' instrument is focal to the composition, various strings branching from a gentle and steady pulse made by her hands. Discernible and pensive, its eight minutes plus flow into a swirling breeze of melody, at times alighting upon or floating above the keyed structure. At points, this minimalism crescendos into concentrations of bowed melody. For "In the Vapor with the Air Underneath," Grimes pushes her hands into grand arpeggiated fits, which eventually transition into a soft drone that drifts to a close.
Grimes also investigates jazz modes with the engrossing stroll of "The Herald," isolated howls of sax and clarinet dancing free form above Grimes as her volume increases with every strike. And then the playfully percussive number, "Transverse Planet Vertical," has an overt rhythmic presence unlike most of what The Clearing has to offer, though somehow the track fits into the overall presentation.
Her musings lovely and almost structurally narrative, Grimes produces a classically vibrant piece of work that has commanded my attention with every listen. This is as personal as music gets without even coming close to self-indulgence.
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