Robert Logan :: Flesh (Slowfoot)

A great work in not only atmospherics but deep composition relying not on conventional elements so much as the fine detailed placement of found sounds, rhythms and treated instruments.

Robert Logan :: Flesh (Slowfoot)

Robert Logan’s Flesh is the work of a man with a haunted brain. Haunted by what? It could be many things but whatever they are these haunted things come out in his music, weaving a beautiful, scary and scarred album. The cover image is that of a livid, growing fungus which is evocative of the music contained therein.

Logan uses a variety of tools at his disposal: SONAR recording workstation, analog and digital hardware synthesizers, live musicians and a variety of stomp boxes and devices to create deep, dark, murky atmospheres best experienced at night through headphones or driving through a rainstorm.

“Spirit Wars” begins with a muted howl then bursting drums played by Frank Byng. Voices and throbbing bass swirl behind the steady menace of Byng’s drumming. The overall mood of the track is one of foreboding peril and anxiety, like monsters descending from the darkened corners of an attic. Logan’s father’s violin playing adds a peculiar element of both whimsy and melancholy to this nervous brew. “Viker Raver” deepens this darkness with manipulated voices, more tight drumming and the spattering of metallic sounds like giant spiders climbing telephone wires. A simple, low melody works its way in though atmospherics dominate the track. “Lenticel” is all mood, drenched in reverb and darkness like the last hymn played on a dying church organ until a wall of droning feedback finally consumes everything in its path.

There is a certain majestic beauty to Logan’s tracks, wherein he find the power of disassembling sounds then rebuilding them into the song. “Vespine Domain” could be confused for a recent Autechre track except for its clear melodic elements and lack of frantic percussion dominating the track; make no mistake, though, as the drum patterns here skitter and shake like wasps on Adderall. “Dendrite” mines somewhat similar territory while providing some Asian elements with what sounds like a warped shakuhachi flute played across a stagnant pond. “Playground” sounds like Martian jazz played in a deserted nightclub on a broken P.A., its melodies vaguely familiar but constantly being overrun by glitches and skips. The dread implied in these tracks is what makes them so powerful, so cinematic and evocative.

Then there is the playful melody of “Goose Chatter” which glides over angular, intermittent and slightly out of tune squirms and samples, lightening the mood somewhat of the darker first half of the album. “Photovoltaics” is reminiscent of Jega with its phased drums and tight, gated reverbs.

Flesh is a great work in not only atmospherics but deep composition relying not on conventional elements so much as the fine detailed placement of found sounds, rhythms and treated instruments. Highly recommended.

Flesh is available on Slowfoot. Read a recent profile with Robert Logan.

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