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Telegraphs In Negative/Mouths Trapped In Static

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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2 used from £17.99 1 collectible from £25.00

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 April 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: 130701 Ltd
  • ASIN: B00008LKG9
  • Other Editions: Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,783 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

For this second album, Godspeed You! Black Emperor offshoot/collective Set Fire to Flames intended to take a portable studio setup out on a road trip through Canada, stopping and recording in ancient gas stations and deserted factories. Though they eventually abandoned this as impractical, the idea left its mark.

Like its predecessor, Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped in Static is an uneasy listen. Dark strings drone away to themselves; we hear someone packing, writing a farewell note, shoving their bags in the boot of a car. Indeterminate insect electronics chatter. An elderly man tells stories of mad horses and eyes that shoot out fire. Creaking improv likea heavily sedated free jazz outfit playing in an ancient submarine. Then suddenly, gentle hymnal guitars and strings offer a sublime, beautiful melody more shocking than any noiseburst; slowly it blossoms into a brief, funereal slice of slo-mo prog rock, then evaporates into gentle mists of reverb...

The 'invisible soundtrack' has become a bit of a cliche of late, and even then it doesn't do justice to the wobbly, grainy ear-cinema that SFF conjure. Over these two CDs they definitely control the horizontal and the vertical, sucking you in to a Twilight Zone of their own peculiar design. Sounds assume a physical presence, even if you can't imagine what's making them half the time. Episodes of barely coherent lo-fi drone resolve into sweet, luminous clouds of strings. Spaces are by turns wide open, intimate, claustrophobic. If Andrey Tarkovsky had directed The Blair Witch Project, this would have been the ideal soundtrack. Towards the end, we hear a moving, strangely stilted phone conversation between two lovers. It breaks off mid sentence; a guitar elegy unfolds over gentle rivers of static. Someone lights a bonfire.

Beautiful, infuriating, sometimes impenetrable, this is an album that pays repeated listening, and requires that you listen hard. Fat Cat (surely one of the UK's most astute, inventive labels) deserve some kind of award for putting thisout. Essential. --Peter Marsh

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Set fire to flames succeed again with their second album in delivering a soundtrack for the urban sprawl and the lost hopes and lurking shadows that permeate it.
This album moves further away from the song structures of the first album, more soundtrack orientated, more emphasis on creating the vision they have, rather than the usual chorus, verse routine. Many tracks clock in between 7 and 12 minutes, this is a 2cd album in fact, allowing Set Fire to Flames to achieve their musical intentions. Sighing cello's, moving sonics, sampled hosue noises, momentary speech, slow guitar picking. All combining excellently to transport oneself to a land of empty buildings, crumbling walls, fading sunsets and haunting sounds.
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Format: Audio CD
I bought this after the first album, which I must firstly comment on. 'Sings Reign Rebuilder' took me a while to understand and love, and I consider that an easier record to listen to than this.
At first, I thought that this was a mere rehash of the first, and genuinely painful listening. I was inclined to agree with the reviewer who said that there was very little 'music' on the cds.
It is a cd that rewards your patience. You may not enjoy it the first time you listen to it, but the beauty of Set Fire to Flames is almost paradoxical: its almost like the songs are waiting to reveal themselves to you.
I guess its a case of how much you *want* to like it. It doesn't present itself to you, it isn't accessable and it's much harder work than the first record.
As the 4 stars indicate, I really like this album.
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Format: Audio CD
wonderful - what else can you say or could you want to say, they are very distinctive in the approach to the music they play, i think each track has been made with whats next and whats just been - in mind, it does flow - the rich textures of the music will win you over - theres not a duff track on this Cd, just buy it for the reason of 'wanting to own something wonderful'
you wont be sorry you brought this at all
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By A Customer on 9 Oct. 2003
Format: Audio CD
I read a review for this album, and was quite excited! So much so that i went to my local CD store the very next day and purchased the CD.
I got it home and hit play but was very very disappointed.
It wasn't really music, more or less sound effects with some very very slight musical type pieces added.
It was as the review said, a bit spooky, but only in parts.
I honestly cannot see how this can be sold as music?
The artwork in the sleeve was the best part about the purchase, the photography was exceptional alongside the art direction.
But the so called music was very poor, and I cannot see it ever being put in my CD player ever again!
I have given up all faith in reviews, as this CD was simply VERY VERY DISAPPOINTING!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ... 9 Sept. 2004
By Jonathan S. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The title aforementioned is the feeling I got from this album...emptiness. A reviewer on a UK site put it very aptly by saying this album is "all your beautiful memories and loves washed up in front of you only to wash away forever," or something like that. This album will drain you if you let it. On first listen you might not know what to think, because there simply isn't that much "music" on here. No real movements. Some songs are a single movement, some are nothing at all really.

So what is it exactly? Well...I'm not really sure. I kind of wanted to know what this collective group (comprised of members of hangedup, godspeed, fly pan am, and someothers(?)) was thinking while making this, or how they did it exactly. They do play things, but it barely has any form, but it's still cooridinated, which is really almost paradoxical. The tracks are very rarely sweet and are usually the worst/confusing/vacuous parts of your life put into musical form. It's almost like the imagery in a silent hill game but for your ears, which if you know what I'm talking about this is quite a thing to experience.

However, this is actually a very difficult album to listen to. One that you literally HAVE to grow accustomed to, because you probably won't really like it that much. I didn't. But after a second listen I was starting to GET it, and when you finally start to get it everything seems to have a bit more of a place. This is by no means a godspeed record, it's nothing close to that. I've heard comparisons drawn to f#a# but this is much more subtle and ambient. But I do feel like f#a# had much more of a purpose, because it does have movements and crescendos. But at the same time this emptiness is what is so attractive about these apparent telegraphs in negative.

On a side note, this cd has some of the coolest packaging I've ever seen. It's almost worth buying the album for this reason alone, I really mean it. It's damn haunting, and as esoteric as you can get. And naturally the track names put question marks in your head. Oh, and don't buy this from fatcat (record co.) if you're not in UK, it's damn expensive.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Random humans scuffling about. 23 Jun. 2007
By Brian Lange. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I purchased "Telegraphs in Negative" and "Sings Reign" together.

Being from the 'post-rock' genre and having members from GYBE, I had very little fear that this would be a bad purchase. And I was right.

As I describe in my review of "Sings Reign", it's haunting, calming and inspiring... and to be perfectly honest I would probably rate these albums higher than most Godspeed albums (as well as Mogwai, ASMZ, etc) This record I don't like QUITE as much as "Sings Reign", but only by a narrow margin. This is a double disc album, providing 90 minutes of nightmarish dreamscapes... it is even MORE experimental than "Sings Reign" (the addition of more random human scuffling about) and you can almost sense how much more the band members are strung out or intoxicated or whatever. (If you read a blurb about these records, it is stated that they isolated themselves in remote locations with very little contact with the outside world and would stay awake for long periods of time)

In any case, I find both of Fire to Flames' records to be amazing bodies of work. Granted it is not the type of music for everyone. But whether listening to it intensely or just playing in the background... I think it will have a lasting effect on you.

A great addition for any ambient/experimental/post-rock collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kill Fatigue Frequencies 21 Sept. 2010
By Brokenhill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my review lifted from RateYourMusic:

"It's not about melodies.

You have to approach this album with a different frame of mind. You can't have any expectations (that one might conceive from knowing the members' other work) if this is your first listen to SFTF. Just sit back, and take it all in.

This is about appreciating sound. Appreciating just simply the timbre of the different instruments...the resonance of the notes and miscellaneous objects that come into play. It's about recognizing patterns & techniques, and trying to grasp what idea the band is trying bring across, or what emotion (or lack of emotion) they're trying to portray.

Yes, there are a few moments in the album which are quite beautifully constructed and have melodies which are easier to follow, but they only make up a small percentage of the album (which is why I think the overall intention of the band was to provide you with a set of experiences). So while most of the material is simpler...either repetitive
or just spaced/thinly abstract, that doesn't mean it's just background music or even noise (at points). This album is most certainly not flat, it's quite atmospheric (I know, a cliche term). If you're in the right mood, this album can very much-so affect you. On my 2nd or 3rd listen, I wasn't depressed or anything, but I was like empty-headed - there wasn't anything on my mind. I had this blaring pretty loud, it was dim, and there were a few moments where I just closed my eyes and felt like I was in a completely different environment.

The recording method/production really make this album what it is. You get a very natural vibe from it, and it doesn't seem to have any forced texture or anything.

I don't believe that they wrote this album to have a musical concept - sure, it has a fairly consistent dark and desolate feel, but the only concept I get from it is simply how you should consider and appreciate this album."
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Empty eerie 1 Dec. 2008
By IRate - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It is a shame I can consciously hear myself rooting out any musical qualities (in other words, the small, actually composed aspects which remind of Godspeed) in these pretentious, depressive drones. Although they do create and sustain some uncomfortably bleak moods, especially on the longer pieces, many of these heavily sampled, anti-musical soundscapes sound like nothing rather then articulate nothingness. A primal metallic screeching and swelling works when locked in its rhythmic death-grip ala related projects Hangedup but comes up vacant when solely making sonic statements.
6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hidden from uncrushed habits 7 Aug. 2006
By Chase Spivey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
your indie-suppressing derision wafts tragic like breeze through bombed out ruins. jump here while you can. it's nothing like that it's something completely different and unique and disgusting and beautiful. you can eat it with a spoon, but you would choose not to.
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