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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Annie Mahtani - Racines [empreintes DIGITALes - 2019]

Racines is a five-track album of that sits somewhere between electro-acoustic composition, and subtle scuttling- to-surreal ambient sound-scaping. All creating a decidedly dream-like release- that ebbs, lightly darts and lulling shifts. Annie Mahtani is British based composer from the midlands- and has been active since around 2008. Her work flits between acousmatic and free improv- which means there is often a feeling of both surreal atmospherics and structural spontaneity/ looseness to her compositions.
 
This CD album/digital download appears on the French Canadian label empreintes DIGITALes- and the CD is presented in the labels house style fold-out card sleeve- that features write-up about each of the tracks and their themes, in both French and English. The front cover takes in a grey graded and black tar-like spurting picture- that looks akin to melted and twisted road afloat in white space.
 
The five works here come from between 2008 and this year- and throughout much of the release, there’s certainly a feasting and shifting feel to proceeds, which brought to my mind images of magnified organic material. “Past Links” finds a blend of gentle rushing and fleeting high pitch grain sweeps, cluttering & glitching gong tones, and sourly descend sine tones.  “’round Midnight” is built around rapidly building, then receding and possible slightly speed up layers of field recordings from the Amazon jungle- with all manner hissing, croaking, wet rushing, and twitting been fed out. The track “Aeolian” really enhances the albums strange/ fevered dream quality- as we get a blend one or two distant drone layers, brooding warbling with sudden darts of bird song, water rushing. The track later builds into these weird metallic pipe like rattle & clutter textures- before once more drop down into a blend of distant drone layers, and subtle strange field record detail.
 
For much of Racines runtime there is this feeling of hazy mystery, grey unease, and slightly troubled dream-ness. So to me felt it little odd the way the final track exists with this more rising warm, and a little twee ethno ambience vibe, but maybe that’s meant to be the listener getting brighter/ better dreams…anyway, aside from this sudden glaring shift in tone, I enjoyed what Annie Mahtani had to offer here.

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

Roger Batty
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