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Sala - Scare Me Not [Unfathomless - 2018]

Sala is a project born from the Lithuanian city of Utena, and masterminded by the musician, philosopher,photographer, cinephile Alas23, or to give him his real name Audrius Šimkūnas. The album, as described in the liner notes, was recorded at the site of “abandoned Soviet machines and building materials near Utena” and later mixed in Sala’s own studio between 2013 and 2016.  The album has received a limited edition CD release via Belgian label Unfathomless, hand numbered to 200 copies, it comes with a well designed fold out insert and an art card.

The album is divided up into two long tracks of ambient field recordings and drones, Scare Me Not I & II. The first running at an epic 44 minutes long, and the second coming in at the almost modest by comparison twenty minute mark.

Scare Me Not I begins with the sound of bird song, it is over four minutes before we hear any other sounds, and even then other noises are sparingly added to the mix. The track moves at a glacial pace, this makes Sunn 0))) sound positively up beat. Found sounds and samples provide most of the track’s development, various electronic drones and sounds drift in and out over time, never staying long merely introducing themselves and drifting off again into the ether. Various rattles and clanks the sound of running water and flames intermingle with the bird song to create something that is largely ambient but with enough variety to prevent it becoming tired or dull.

Scare Me Not II starts off even more low key, there is the faint rumble of a drone that builds during the opening few minutes of the track. Headphones are highly recommended when listening to this album, much of what happens, happens at low volume and it often gets lost when listening without headphones. Again, we move at a glacial pace, various knocking sounds play over the top of a Lynchian drone, giving the whole thing a much eerier quality that the opening track. Samples and found sounds become more and more prevalent at the song progresses, yet it never becomes anything more than sparsely populated with sound. This is for me the stronger of the two tracks on display here. The central drone seems to anchor the whole thing, and the eerie quality draws the listener deeper into the mix.

Overall this is an interesting album full of cool ideas and some lovely dark drones, especially on the second track which wouldn’t sound out of place as the backing for an Eraserhead style short film. That said it’s running time of around sixty five minutes is probably a little ambitious and two twenty minute tracks would have probably worked even better.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Darren Charles
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