Andreas Brandal - Parts Of The Puzzle [Ginjoha - 2011]
Here’s a cassette from the dependable Andreas Brandal, which, though leaning towards the lighter, less noisy side of things, is infused throughout with eerie dread. The cover has a hand-drawn tangle of isometric cubes, in three distinct, bold colours and thats what Brandal creates for us: bold little sound-works and drones, which reveal a multitude of tangles. The tape contains eight tracks, which drift and throb by for around forty minutes.
The tape begins with some moments of crystal clear guitar wanderings; but thereafter everything becomes “drones”, murky and textured - albeit also strong and deep. This series of patient drift-works very neatly balances the cold formality of repetition and drone with overwhelmingly warm sounds - although the format obviously helps in this regard. So, in a formal sense, the pieces progress very steadily - if there is such a thing as “mid-paced drone”, here it is - with slow but definite propulsion; there’s never any sense of aimless wandering. Nor is there any real sense of “stasis”, the pieces develop and shift considerably: Brandal isn’t afraid to suddenly change direction, or radically alter the soundscape. In terms of sounds, there are two clear elements: electronic drones and field recordings. The drones are constructed out of synths and feedback (I think), looped and layered; with subtle melodic composition and a variety of colours. The field recordings, more often than not, add a true “dread” to the album; dragging “the real world” into the insular drones, but a real world seen from odd, obscuring angles. Whilst there is a clear loop of church bells ringing, often the field recordings are somewhat illegible; being describable as simply “mysterious junk clanking” - this creates several passages of genuine eeriness, as Brandal surrounds the reverbed clangs with slowed gasps and underwater murk.
This is a very, very solid album, as you might expect from such a consistent figure as Brandal. Its intelligent and well-thought-out: it sounds truly composed. The pacing, in particular, is quite exemplary; there’s no set pace or rhythm across the album, tracks develop and change according to the needs of that particular piece - this might sound obvious, but all too often drone albums seem to follow a template. All in all, another recommended work from Andreas BrandalMartin P