Autumn of Communion :: Autumn of Communion 2 (Anodize)

Blending post-digital now-voyaging with a hefty hark-back, these sub-genre archaeologists draw on trajectories of early-mid ’90s halcyon days and hybrids of IDM experimentalism and environmental space music, tapping into rich veins fed by cult-classic Namlook-mediated albums of the period.

autumn-of-communion-2United in a spirit of inquiry into head and ear-space, Lee Norris and Michael Gainford follow up their FAX debut with Autumn of Communion 2. Blending post-digital now-voyaging with a hefty hark-back, these sub-genre archaeologists draw on trajectories of early-mid ’90s halcyon days and hybrids of IDM experimentalism and environmental space music, tapping into rich veins fed by cult-classic Namlook-mediated albums of the period. Bestriding three decades of electronic sub-genres like a pocket colossus—as Metamatics, Norken and Nacht Plank—across labels like Hydrogen Dukebox, Clear and his own Neo Ouija, Norris has some fine exhibits in his own back catalogue. And Gainford’s Mick Chillage portfolio, including a FAX investment, is not too shabby either. Operating in the interstices between ambient and post-IDM stylings with a taste for tweaking trope-means to larger ends, his voice combines well with Norris’s for this second communion.

Pete Namlook’s untimely demise rendered AoC’s debut the last FAX broadcast—doubly valedictory for label and owner. And, commemoratively, AoC2 feels appropriately FAX-ed to the max—luxuriant synthetic depth-soundings and harmonic swathes bedded in environmental mulch with rhythmic dressing. Some low-end theory is applied—and a few film dialogue snatches (from “Galaxy of Terror,” “Phase 4” and “Silent Running”) too—to finish these polar sequences and sweetly smeared soundscapes. Common ground between the two AoCs is clear, though, as trailed earlier, the latest seems more knowing in its referencing of, in particular, mid-’90s ambient dub and then-nascent IDM, ‘…filling a gap in for those who miss that music… I know I do and Mick is on the same crest of a wave as me,’ says Norris. More structured than its predecessor, crossing several genre trails—purist, techno, dub, electronic—, blurring their tracks, it interleaves more intense long-form pieces with dream-scape vignettes. Track-by-track documentation would be incongruent with the album’s integrality, though the poignant “Goodbye PK,” dedicated to Mr Kuhlmann/Namlook, merits special mention.

Overall, then, a nicely re-contextualized ’90s distillate-update, AoC2 is curated, aptly, by Darren Bergstein, ex-editor of now-defunct e|i magazine, long-time electronic music mover’n’shaker, and physical media-carrier activist (see here). Bergstein is well placed to represent such a project, embodying inter-decadal convergence. Moving from the centre of Periphery, his new offshoot Anodize is situated as a locus for tactile visual audio, cutting across genre boundaries, actualizing imagistic sounds…,’ peddling pukka electronic product, with an aesthetic not so much retro or reactionary as ambitiously historico-cultural. AoC2’s limited edition manufactured CD luxuriates alluringly in its eponymous silver-hinged tin with art insert, an indulgence for the sound carrier-lover. Last word: Anodize prides itself on the artistic value inherent in the physical object, what it represents historically and literally to the aural and visual mediums simultaneously vanishing into the digital ether.’

Autumn Of Communion 2 is available on Anodize.

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