Friday, March 18, 2011

Dubh-- Fractured Broken and Beautiful

Dubh's resonant, evocative 18 track album "Fractured Broken and Beautiful" shifts and glides through a spectrum of sounds using samples, synths, and beats to map out a somber album. His ideas are well rounded by shimmering moods and great depths; it's a phenomenal album for the pensive from start to finish. 

"Hello" fades listeners in with a rolling thrum, and through the murk a clipped sample greets and beckons. The album's watery beginning manages to outdo expectations of typical introductory first tracks through beautifully created sound collections. 

Distorted piano fuzz plays in the margins of the next track, "Without Pain", guiding it through the kaleidoscopic, forested sounds that feel as though their origin comes from the listener's own chest. We're then shifted into "You Will Find", a track that hums and shimmers, twisting hauntingly through its deepening of sounds. Particularly enjoyable is the faintly syncopated rhythm section that intertwines with the light sample.

As we climb deeper into the album, fourth track "Reality at Any Point" beats and throbs-- its sounds are nearly tangible. One of Dubh's major talents seems to be his adept handling of the sounds he creates; he allows his ideas to linger, fade and crescendo at exactly the right moments, never overpowering his ideas. "Geography and Chronology" showcases this talent, as piano, gentle windlike sounds, and sampling keep from dominating one another. 

Sixth track "Small Things" has a timid quality that recollect visions of drowned wind up toys forgotten but not yet gone. Next, "Fracture Broken and Beautiful" incorporates that same magical timid piano quality to it, but deepens itself with pizzicato bass underscores. The track glimmers and creeps and swells-- it's beautifully emotional without being maudlin.

Breaking listeners out of the reverie with extraordinary bass echoes, Dubh fades in "And We Do Not Know". The distinguished rhythm keeps the track gratefully pensive and moody rather than eerie or disquieting. Deftly, Dubh has moved his audience from the previous wilting mood to one of restlessness and quiet action. "Truth Becomes" continues in this vein and is more glitchy and clipped. Particularly lovely are the piercing, stretched piano tones against the scant rhythm.

Tenth track "Inside Ourselves" is a more muted, grave experience, using somnambulant mids rather than throbbing basses. The piece feels like an organic growth and intermingling of its own sounds rather than a painstakingly crafted idea.

"Musette" has a guitarlike theme that pulls away from the more restless feelings, and elevates the mood to a reflective, clear state of mind, and "Angeltech" layers light and dark, pricking the senses with rhythmic ticking, enigmatic voice samples, and a slightly foreboding bass.

Thirteenth track "Mild Methodology" is anything but mild-- it's a dark, pacing return to restlessness, but the cleverly timed drum rhythms keep the track from becoming unnerving, and immediately following, the aptly titled "I'm A Cyborg" features distorted organs and a plodding beat.

Track fifteen, "Unbecome" features an soft, beautiful accordion-like synth, but is more dictated by its rhythms-- another shifting beat that leads the tone. Soft midtones round out the piece, making it feel simultaneously large and intricate. The restlessness is quieted here, and almost banished in "Silence is Full of Music", a track that opens with a regal, church-like appeal. Chanting synths with a pattering bass and percussion line strengthen the track's charms, and the continually evolving resonance throughout deepens and unifies the individual sounds.

Penultimate track "The White Box" marks a return to a more mechanical theme, and a dark bass is elevated by sweet, lilting bells. The track evolves into itself, maturing in a matter of minutes.

The final track, "Cimmeria" is disorienting but rewarding, if the listener can relax into the track's vocal samples, scattered patterns, and winding mechanisms. The tiny piano that haunts the listener's ear again and again are like final glimmering rays of light before day's end. It's a fitting close to an album that demands complete surrender and rapt attention. 

All in all: Resonant and gorgeous, this album is one that you can sink deeply into without any residual effects of unease-- instead, upon finish, you might find yourself feeling an energy and clarity lacking before. Listen for the beautiful piano and amazing accordion-like sounds. It's a wonderful album for sitting and staring out a window on a rainy day, or for providing a soundtrack to a task requiring solidity of mind and concentration. Not for pop-ulists, but definitely a must hear.

Available on Dubh's site, physical copies (cool vinyl look!) ₤10.00 or more, digital for ₤5.00 or more. See also Dubh's Facebook page.

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