Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Love Cult - Nebulaes (Brave Mysteries, 2011)

Maybe the best review of this little cassette would be the words of my mother who said after hearing side A of the tape: “It would make a nice doorbell”. Of course, in the mouth of some sarcastic, cynical blogger this might be an insult but what my mother meant was clearly a compliment – by the “doorbell” sound my mother rather described something clear, easily recognizable, warm and welcoming. Love Cult’s Nebulaes is exactly that, at last side A.
The first track, entitled “Reflection”, which features a truly minimalist series of shimmering tones played on kantele, an instrument native to Karelia, among others (the historical area divided between Finland and Russia, where Love Cult also come from). The tones are sparse and played in a simple, descending manner. The simplicity of the track is where it takes its strength from: the seemingly endlessly sustained echoes put the listener in the state of deep trance. The kantele lead is then gradually, yet gently transformed: more layers stack upon one another, new waves of delay and reverb are added, deepening the meditational state. The track’s title, “Reflection”, might have a double meaning: both a reflection of the autumn/winter sun in the clear, cold water and a reflection upon a feeling or a simple meditation on the simplicity of beauty.
Side B’s “Absorption” gets a little more lo-fi and hazy than the minimalist side A, but it’s still deep in the melodic, melancholic territory. This quiet, introverted jam (it’s a bit weird to write words “quiet” and “jam” together) is based almost solely on acoustic guitar and moaning, wordless vocals. The music wanders through the raw nature soundscapes – birch forests, cold springs, reeds at the lake’s shore. “Absorption” is an exercise in loneliness and melancholy. Not a cold, detached calculation, not a distanced look: it’s Love Cult telling the story of times bygone, the story of lost love, from their own experience: even though there aren’t any lyrics, the distant, gentle guitar and the calm vocals make listening to “Absorption” an almost heartbreaking experience. Nebulaes is a folky version of M. Geddes Gengras’ Magical Writing (or maybe it’s the other way around?). Both artists displayed on those albums their personal and introverted take on melancholy, be it through outsider guitar sound paintings or synth-driven ambient introspection. In fact, this connection is not coincidental: Ged Gengras has mastered the Love Cult’s tape before it was released on Brave Mysteries.
Love Cult can serve as a doorbell sound in my house every day; each time the guests would be thrown in a state of calm, meditative state. Not a druggy, “faded” state – Love Cult might be described as psychedelic folk, but their music is psychedelic without the use of psychedelics. Rather it’s seeing and feeling more through leaving it all behind – the drugs, the Internet, the technology, the career. Love Cult want you to simply go to the nearest woods, sit down and listen.


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borxes said...

One of the best tapes this year!