Boomkat Product Review:
Simon Scott is something of a hero in underground music circles, having made his name as part of Slowdive - one of shoegaze's genre-defining acts - only to remain an intensely active presence on the scene through his collaborations with Rafael Anton Irisarri (as part of The Sight Below's live band) and Isan's Antony Ryan (recording together as Seavault). In addition to these projects, Scott curates the label Kesh, releasing works from the likes of Sebastian Roux, Hannu, Mark Templeton and Aus. Throughout all these various elements of Scott's work you can trace a common thread running throughout; there's a fixation on the more sculpted, textural aspects of sound. 'Navigare' fully embraces the idea of sound-sculpting whilst retaining the more suggestively song-driven impetus of Scott's past, and the resultant album marks a new evolutionary step for Erik Skodvin's Miasmah imprint. 'Introduction Of Cambridge' sets the album on its course, flooding the speakers with a sun-dappled, ventilated drone sound that shifts around harmoniously until guitars and eventually very quietly mixed drums emerge from the distance - it could almost be a post-rock track were it not for the blurry edges and the disproportionate volume difference between the monolithic central droning soundscape and the more conventional instruments. When 'Flood Inn' fires up a fuzzy, scratchy old drum sample is at the heart of the mix, swaddled in Gas-like ambient textures and heated-up crackle. While much of the Miasmah catalogue to date has tended to emerge from darkness, skulking in shadowy electroacoustic recesses, Navigare is a brighter affair - the gravitas and sheer sonic density remains familiarly in place but there's a certain quality of iridescence to these productions that binds them to the dream-pop movement. This link is never clearer than on 'The ACC', which takes slow-mo drums and trad rock band dynamics only to dissolve them into a thick, goopy sonic splurge reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine or Fennesz. Another great entry into Miasmah's rock-solid catalogue, and a wonderfully rich ambient record in its own right - one whose residual echoes of a shoegaze past give it an appeal that transcends the usual parameters of drone music.