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Urban Eden - Building Gardens From Concrete [Midira Records - 2020]

Urban Eden is the project of the multidisciplinary artists Liz Helman and Dominic Hemy, and via the collaboration  the pair share their love of drones and subtly twisted soundscapes.

The London resident artist Liz Helman works with time-based media and tries to react to place and environment with her visual and acoustic work. She usually begins her working process with field recordings, which are then vividly designed into compositions at the base of drones. There is  only very vague information on musician Dominic Hemy . However, he has been designing soundscapes for over a decade now. And on the album, he mainly utilizers  guitars, theremins and synthesizers.


The two artists met in 2019 at a gig where they both performing at.  They quickly recognized their mutual love for drones and soundscaping,  and founded Urban Eden. The  first fruit of  the project is Building Gardens From Concrete, which was released by German label Midira Records. It contains four tracks simply named Project I - IV. These compositions are blends of field recordings, minimal drones, and fragile noise patterns.

The mysterious floating tracks are accompanied by photographs by Liz Helman, which are included in the booklet as well as digitally.  Her beautiful black and white photographs illustrate how specific urban landscapes and extensive gardens can contradict or complement each other. .The four "projects" on this album nicely harmonize with the photographs here.

All the pieces on Building Gardens From Concrete are similar in effect/ form, and try to find pure beauty in minimalism. This works particularly well with “Project III” thanks to the bright and clear sounds that are interrupted by individual gongs. The other tracks drone landscapes are initially quite cluttered and take up a lot of space. However, as soon as you discover the details within the layers, you find there is little depth/ return power here. Meaning that album as a whole rather, felt liked bare concrete itself: reduced and simplified to individual surfaces and limited textures. So in conclusion  that means that Building Gardens From Concrete is not as successful or rewarding as it's premise.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Jan Warnke
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