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anduin & jasper tx - The Bending Of Light
A classic case of a collaboration adding up to more than the sum of its parts, this incredible album arrived here with a fair amount of expectation but duly proceeded to completely blow us away with its utterly immersive blend of shimmering drones and densely crafted, submerged melodies. The SMTG label has already impressed us a great deal with a pristine lineup of releases from all manner of artists we love, but "The Bending of Light" must surely rank as the best thing on the label yet. Many of you will no doubt already be familiar with the work of both Jasper TX and Anduin, but despite the high calibre of material from both camps they seem to have struck something entirely more developed and engrossing working together. Opening track "A Beam of Light Bends Back Upon Itself" is interesting enough with its slow-building drone haze, but its when second track "Producing Great jets of Radiation" hits that you realise that you're in the presence of something truly important and great. It's a track that nervously builds from the low registers with a Deathprod style dose of uncertainty and darkness slowly overcome by strained beams of light and distortion, like Tim Hecker manipulating a church organ - but before you get a chance to register the full scope of frequencies the track fades out to an abrupt end. "Where a Star Once Was" is another highlight, a creaking, pulsating recording doused with unusual, nautical found sounds and barely audible keys shifting into focus with one half embracing melody and the other engulfed by the icy tundras you'd more readily associate with someone like Mika Vainio. It's dark, dense, overwhelming music. "Like The Foot Prints.." takes an engrossing diversion and clears aural mists for a much more vulnerable kind of music, a slow pulsating heartbeat and immensely beautiful notes riding underneath a humming, delicately balanced drone and restrained strums, sounding not unlike classic Pan American but with a more pregnant emotional core. The album ends with "Walking in the Snow", a monochrome rendition that barely manages to contain the warm embers of memory and nostalgia underneath, so much so that you can imagine it bookending a lost vintage era recording from the Cocteau Twins, high praise indeed. Incredible music - and an utterly Essential Purchase!