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4.0 out of 5 stars Sympathy for the devil, 7 May 2009
This review is from: Arrivals (Audio CD)
worriedaboutsatan - aka Gavin Miller and Thomas Ragsdale - is a refreshing reminder of the possibilities of more orthodox electronic music and while not a great leap forward, is a highly engaging and atmospheric listen. Though not characterised by the polyrhythmic mechanical textures of, say, Autechre - there are post-rock guitars lurking throughout `Arrivals' - worriedaboutsatan's sound-scapes are unabashedly computer-generated, with an emphasis on unearthly atmosphere. `Arrivals' is mostly hushed and spectral, with cathedral-sized atmospherics and a Space Odyssey-esque mood of isolation and menace. There is a palpable sense of space, a vertiginous emptiness underpinned by minimal percussive constructs that build from pitter-pattering ticks into metronomic 4/4 rhythms. While the album reminds me of other artists such as Murcof and James Holden, `Arrivals' is an accomplished work in its own right.

`I'm A Crooked Man' flickers into life with a loop of reverbed ringing and cavernous drones, before some crackly, mildly jazzy chords usher in some bass-driven propulsion. It evolves into a somnambulant nocturnal groove (best enjoyed over the headphones of course) and ends in a finale of deep, grinding guitar dissonance that would please fans of Jim O'Rourke as much as those of Richard D. James. `Pissing Abotu' (I hope I have this right and it's not a typo!) is a less than evocative title but is equally engaging. Beginning with a stuttering, high-pitch metallic noise, other textures - abrasive drones, and ghostlier, less definite shapes - gradually combine into a hypnotic pulse.

`History is Made at Night' begins with some Kid A-style, faux-naive keyboards before a hesitant little synth pattern and metronomic beats slowly evolve into a ghostly pulse. Even a little funereal in its downcast aesthetic, the fine drizzle of effects is undermined by a radiant yet menacing drone that slowly insists itself and subsumes the track. `You're In My Thought's begins with what sounds like shimmering, high-end guitar work, layering post-rock textures onto crunchier beats, twinkling but jagged IDM shards and chopped up vocal fragments in a way reminds me pleasingly of Boards of Canada's `Telephasic Workshop'. This is contrasted nicely by `All Things But You Are Silent', a cinematic maelstrom of deep drones, hissing interference and quaking, smouldering ominousness. The title track is initially becalming after the darkness and paranoia of the track that preceded it, all whispering voices, shimmering synths and lilting ambience. Finally the spell is broken by some enormous low-end guitars which herald a stunning climax to the album.

If I have one minor quibble with `Arrivals' it's that worriedaboutsatan revert too often to a default mood of extraterrestrial spookiness. Some of the disembodied voices - and I'm normally a sucker for this conceit - with their "eight, one, zero, five" transmissions from the satellite heart (to steal from The Flaming Lips), are a little old hat. Luckily they are mostly confined to intermissions - this is one of the best electronica albums I have heard in years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This shows what dedication and hard work an achieve..., 30 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Arrivals (Audio CD)
Having personally been in band and being good friends with these two guys, I am not surprised to hear such a cleverly produced piece of artwork at all. Tom and Gav are two of the few musicians and songwriters I know who are 100% focused on achieving what they want, they have no fear and don't look back to the past. There work, ideas and confidence are constantly growing and evolving not just in music but as human beings.

Now to the music;

Having seen worriedaboutsatan grow since day one, it is so interesting to see the direction they have headed towards in 'arrivals'. Having constantly battled with comparisons to '65daysofstatic' this album deserves no such comparison, and moves far beyond the boundaries that the above are held to. However the very early worriedaboutsatan tracks I believe are the reason's why previous comparisons still arise.

This album is a full of beautiful delicate glitchy beats taking great influence from albums like 'martes' but adding much more depth and layers to the sound. The guitars are much more minimal than in previous work, and play around with the delights of reverb, distortion and delay, in a similar vein to early 'sigur ros' guitar work.

One thing I can't agree with is continued use of the link to the genre post rock, I don't feel that this album is post rock at all, I think Gav and Tom have successfully escaped the whole post rock genre and entered a completely new territory. To me this album lies under an electronic heading, Im not sure which one, but maybe the sort that artists like 'Nathan Fake' and 'Murcof' would be categorised with.

The album is extremely satisfying, like a warm cup of a surprisingly good herbal tea, it couldn't be a good cup of normal tea because that is too straight forward, but where as some herbal teas are just tasteless and watery, worriedaboutsatan have that surprising intensity hidden in such subtle flavours.
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Arrivals by Worriedaboutsatan (Audio CD - 2009)
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