Reformed Faction - Vota [Zoharum - 2022]
Here we have a re-release of the debut album from the band born of the ashes of Zoviet France, originally calling themselves The Reformed Faction 0f Zoviet France, the trio of Andy Eardley, Mark Spybey and Robin Storey issued the album as a self-titled release on Klanggalerie records in 2005 before deciding to repackage it and reissue it a year later as Vota. The band also chose to drop the “of Zoviet France” from their name so as to help differentiate this project from their previous one.
The album itself opens with “We are like Angels Falling Down” and after an opening featuring just a sweet gentle synth line the song settles into its groove with a hypnotic ritualistic drum beat that gently flows throughout the song. The synth line continues, and various other electronic tweets and noises fill in some of the space. This makes for a very pleasant, gentile start to the proceedings. “Radio Yan”, is a very short experimental sound piece that is over before it really begins. “Snapper Bird” on the other hand fits more neatly into the world of ambient music. Starting with some atmospheric drones it provides a slow-moving soundscape, darker industrial sounds start to creep into the track over time, but that basic synth drone remains throughout, and those darker sounds are never able to completely break through, although they remain in the background. “Fall Angels Fall” features some contact mic noise over the top of an atmospheric synth track, it uses some fairly unobtrusive found sounds and samples to great effect in creating a really nice ambient piece. “Blake’s Particulars” continues in a similar vein, with great use of found sounds and other electronic effects to create a wonderful slice of ambience. “Base-Denial” follows suit, while “Reactionaries – paper tigers” takes us down a slightly different path, with greater use of samples and found sounds to create the basis of the song’s structure. “The Gideon Bomb” feels like something is building, and pardon the pun, ready to explode into life, but just as the track seems destined to fade away again it changes direction. “True to Your Kind” is a more typical dark ambient sounding material, whilst “Tempest Lull” and the brilliant “To Know the Numbing Frost” take us into full-on horror movie soundtrack territory. The latter, a slice of creepy rumbling ambience that is the album’s centrepiece in my opinion. The album closes with “We Are Like Fallen Angels” which kind of encompasses everything that has gone before and guides the listener through to the album's conclusion.
It's great that Zoharum have reissued this classic slice of electronica, it sounds as good and fresh today as it did at the time of its initial release, and the album comes presented in a lovely digipak. What more can we ask for? Overall, this is a very nice release for a classic album and will appeal to fans of the band as well as those who have discovered dark ambient and wyrd electronica in the years sinceDarren Charles