Re: Alms

[Constellation; 2004]

Styles: post-rock, avant-garde, electroacoustic music
Others: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Silver Mt. Zion, Sofa, Ernesto Diaz-Infante

Ian Evens (who is also a member of the Constellation collectives Sofa and Silver Mt. Zion) and Aden Evens, under the moniker Re:, craft music that certainly fits well with their label mates' extended sound world; field recordings are blended with live instruments and laptop experiments in extended suites of post-rock mélange. That said, there are significantly individuated elements found in the music of Re: that make it a distinct and satisfying body of work all its own. In particular, their full length, Alms, is a strong set of avant-garde compositions.

A case in point is the formal evolution that occurs during the course of "Orientalism as a Humanism," which begins with synthetic drones and ominous rustlings, morphing toward the more organic world of drums in the gradual crescendo of a skittering groove. This too is eventually accompanied by psych-influenced electronics as it rises to a dynamic climax. The sonic onslaught halts suddenly, replaced by a wall of organs, weaving a delicate yet haunting harmonic ostinato. There is an uneasy sounding truncated recapitulation of the opening rhythmic and synthetic gestures, which recedes into the distance: nine minutes of intriguing music.

Alms also includes several shorter pieces, "Pawk," "On Golden Pond," et al. While these are no less interesting, the short cuts focus more on characteristic rather than constructive musical elements. I keep turning back to the extended tracks on the album, which allow freer rein for the Evens' imaginative development of intricate textures. "Radio Free Ramadi," filled with the white noise of abortive radio tuning attempts, and "Home Security," an ominous slowcore take on bleeptronica, are other examples of Re: at their very best, which is impressive indeed. Definitely recommended.

1. Golem
2. Orientalism as a Humanism
3. On Golden Pond
4. Radio Free Ramadi
5. Lasers, Tracers, Radar Drones
6. Pawk
7. Home Security