Boomkat Product Review:
*Beautiful album of aged recordings, drones and field recordings - a must for followers of William Basinski* Caesarean's lead track, 'Discrete Memorial' is a real rarity within the field of ambient music: it's a piece that instantly takes hold of you, dragging you deeply into its faded, tape-eroded realm. Rather than stringing out drones from analogue synths, soft synths or field recordings, Concern's Gordon Ashworth instead calls upon the services of various acoustic sound sources (clarinet, banjo, guitars, organs and more), all collaged together in an almost tangibly physical recording environment that seems a million miles away from the computer-dominated soundscapes this genre generally throws your way. It's only the start of a very long journey (the album isn't too far off maxing out the disc), but you might have trouble moving on from 'Discrete Memorial'. It's really quite wonderful; full of faults and dropouts, an introductory piano riff fires up in a stuttering loop, before languid woodwind tones join in. In theory this would all sound a bit derivative of William Basinski, but Ashworth ably asserts a very different voice on these pieces and certainly doesn't adhere to any strictly repetitious loop-driven formula. Even on more conventionally drone-driven compositions like 'Mending' or 'Leaving Gold' there's very evidently something special about those shimmering harmonics and endlessly sustaining strings; as much as the music itself, it's to do with the production and the way the instruments dissolve into one another as Ashworth pieces the different elements together. Using both cassettes and quarter-inch tape, the album layers various crumbling stretches of acoustic sounds - perhaps never more adeptly than on the finely spliced 'From Warmth And From Violence' and its half-hour-plus follow-up 'Immersed In Envy, Porous With Forgetfulness', a formidable, slow-moving montage of ideas and sonic environments. Opening with ten minutes or so of dazzling metallic thrum, Ashworth goes on to pool sparse, untreated concrete sounds with overspilling harmonium chords to tremendous effect. Like Caesarian as a whole, it's not easy to pinpoint precisely what it is about all this that distinguishes Concern as something special, but take a listen and it'll soon become self-evident. Highly recommended.