Boomkat Product Review:
Compelling, incognito ambient/noise jams from a London-based cabal flocking around cellist Oliver Coates. A must check for fans of Alex Zhang-Hungtai, Philip Jeck, Lawrence English
The intrigue, and stuff, is high on this one; a suite of unpredictable improvisations recorded for the sheer fuck of it, and presented mixed down to tape, sans overdubs or edits. All contributors aside from Coates will remain anonymous, letting the music do the talking across a handful of pieces that scale from screwed vignettes to smeared widescreen soundscaping, each blessed with a textural bite and attrition that infects from the first go.
Prizing a lack of conceit or imagery that’s all too rare and much needed in a contemporary scene where artists are expected to be overt narcissists, The Pale Faced Family on the Hill simply do their thing without all the shit modern trappings, and sound better for it. Pivoting live cello improvs by Oliver Coates, the ensemble use a range of strategies, from live sampling/processing to mixing with field recordings and more “esoteric ways of generating sound”, to arrive at a sore, magisterial sound that recalls to these ears the enigma of Philip Jeck (R.I.P) as much as Alex Zhang-Hungtai’s inventive sax experiments.
’Slime light bends 1’ initiates the mystery with a haar-like occlusion of strings and silty distortion that sets the tone for the EP’s two related, durational works, pooling into the cinematic 10 mins of its part 2, and the aching 21 min motherland of part 3, with its nuanced oscillation of dream-like and ‘parish sentiments. The other two tracks act as fine palate cleansers, with ‘Vega’ churning up tempestuous, blistering shoegaze shapes and distorted amp workship, while ‘Clones of Vega’ keeps it wayward on a crushed sort of screw-gaze flex.