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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2003
That word claustrophobia: it sums up so much about this album. It's like walking through swampy dreamscapes of tall buildings and crowds; or dark tunnels, on your belly in the earth's ooze.
Brian McMahan used to be in Slint, a band that virtually invented post-rock, all twisted rhythms and butchered guitars. This moves the template sideways somewhat: the rhythsm are still there, all chopped and swarming, but it's rooted in the blues, then fractured through an almost Massive Attack (circa Mezzanine)style sonic prism. Tribute To is a perfect example of this. Built around a huge, sinuous bassline, it moves like a tortured animal, McMahan whispering, deep in the mix, "desperate days they walk behind/ though you see them do not look them in the eye"; and the thing with it is that it's so suffocating and powerful, it seems to enter the room and fill it out, leaving no space for air. It sounds hyperbolic but the effect is palpable.
There is respite however and the ambient textures of Moonbeam and Emp. Man's Blues, all snakelike synth washes and low end throb, ease the tension but underly it as well, building foundations of paranoia.
All in all, The Forcarnation is an amazing trawl through the depths and soundscapes of the unconscious. It's a worthwhile journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2007
If, like me, you come to `The For Carnation' through the Slint connection, you will find plenty of similarities with the legendary `Spiderland'. There are six tracks over about 40 minutes; one unorthodox instrumental; songs with no conventional structure and Brian McMahan delivering half-spoken narrative-style vocals.

However, the musical style on `The For Carnation' is far more restrained. The tracks are all driven by languid, rolling basslines with minimal percussion, augmented by string flourishes and bursts of distorted guitars and odd noises.

This is slow, carefully crafted music but wonderfully atmospheric and dark. The instrumental `Being Held' is a particular gem, being built upon a persistently ringing bell over which are layered low mechanical rumbles and bursts of tight percussion. The whole effect is tense and conveys a real sense of alarm.

It's a great record which rewards repeated listens but the one downside is its lack of variety. All the tracks are very similar and I find my interesting waning slightly towards the end. Still, great for late nights and comes recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is not an album to listen to if you want a "pick me up". its dark, slow and clostrophobic. A Tribute To is a dinghy, dark groove driven by a bassline that is solid. The vocals a very creepy on this album, like a softly spoken murderer whispering to his pray! OK maybe a little to harsh but this album is a must buy for all you post rock, ambient, doom fans
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