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Brett Naucke - Seed [Spectrum Spools - 2014]

The artist formerly known as Brett Naucke (who is currently known as, um, Brett Naucke) is back with his follow up to last year's The Visitor. Seed is Brett's first release on Spectrum Spools and is available in LP format with artwork by Nina Hartmann. Brett's approach to recording Seed may not sound impressive on paper (or on your glowing screen, for that matter), but after hearing the whole album, it really comes to one's attention. For Seed, Brett used the same patch on his modular synthesizer. The album has a very cohesive feel, which is to be expected because of this approach, but it doesn't get tired or worn, like one might fear.

Like Brett's last release, The Visitor, Seed hovers around the mid-30 minute mark. Where most experimental artists tend to overstay their welcome, Brett seems to know his place and the importance of a well edited album. There is no point when tedium sets in or one thinks, "That shouldn't be here." Seed starts off with field recordings over a slowly growing , bright synth wall on "Up From the Sun." The brightness definitely gives a dawn type of feeling, and the crunchy sample and almost simian panting lead one to see that dawn as being the dawn of man. This makes me think of the beginning of 2001 before the violence sets in. It's a totally excellent start to the album. Continuing along the timeline brings us to "Luau," which plays like the birth of a tribe. Starting off with crinkly, glitchy synths and a low, drawn out drone, "Luau" then changes it up when a beat emerges. The filters on the drums add softness while the almost chant like backing add serious depth and an almost cult like vibe. Paired the way they are, one can almost picture mystics dancing around a fire. "Pala" is a short little watery jaunt. There are some bass hits and a simple beat along with a fun flight of notes over a very restrained and interesting series of drones in the way back. "Pala" has a lot to enjoy if one spends the time digging. "Sorrel & Grays" brings the album to a more solemn, contemplative place. Rain and screechy synth wails take a back seat to thoughtful notes and eventually more tribal drumming. It's one of the longest pieces on the album, and uses the time to grow very well. Following "Sorrel & Grays" is the other long track on the album (only 5 mins, so long is relative here), "Lost Inside Your Houses." Sharing a similar beginning to the othr tracks, the sparse creaking gives way to a lush background synth and an ethereal piano. It's a really beautiful, almost New Age type of arrangement, and sadly is only about two minutes. "Harp of the Evening Garden" follows the same mold as the previous songs, but does so in a lower, fairly pedestrian manner. It's entertaining, but lacks the beauty of the previous tracks. More from the Evening Garden is on the menu with "Transmissions From the Evening Garden." Low, spacey, and filled with radio samples, "Transmission" manages to stay grounded due to the primitive percussion instruments (or facsimile thereof). "Seed" finishes the album off using "Transmissions" as a launching pad. Radio samples move to the back and airy, flighty synths take hold. Has man left the Earth and will now seed other planets or is this claiming that the Monolith is the seed and now it will continue to seed other worlds? Am I drawing too much into this? haha Probably, but I like the 2001 type vibe I got from this album.

While most won't be overwhelmed with a "story" and 2001 nods (real or apparent), they'll still find Seed to be a very engaging album. I was impressed with The Visitor and am even more pleased with this new release. Brett really knows his instruments and how to make evocative music. He's two for two in my book and I'm very confident that his future releases will be awesome as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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