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Album Review: Blood & Wires Volume One

13 May 2021 // A review by malexa

It’s still very much a brave new world when it comes to releasing music with its ever diminishing returns for physical product and the pecuniary stranglehold the major streaming services have on the industry.

That’s why Tauranga-based boutique label Blood & Wires deserves a huge thumbs-up for its innovative and down-to-earth but wildly musically ambitious launch.

The label was founded by enthusiast Scott Brown and specialises in limited edition cassette releases and digital downloads.

“Our mission is to showcase New Zealand artists from various genres united by the idea of an experimental approach to creating music,” Brown says. “In November last year we put out a call across social media for artists to submit their tracks. We received a phenomenal response of over 80 submissions exceeding six hours of music. The quality of submissions was so high that we decided to release two compilation albums. “

Blood & Wires Volume One features 12 hitherto largely unknown artists and is eye- and ear-opening in the range and quality of music and musicians that it showcases.

Each track is deserving of mention:

Whakaaroaro – Aoturoa: An organic, droning soundscape, that’s very elemental – sometimes bleak, at others rumbling and echoing that creates a very vivid impression of exploring the natural world.

Serpent DreamHeart Garden: A pulsing, undulating piece of music with the sound of children at play, that unfolds with thick lashings of electric guitar, a nagging beautiful piano melody intertwined with acoustic guitar and a metronomic ringing tone that sounds like an invitation to the twilight zone.

Sonic Space LabOn The Verge: An earthy and grounded yet beautifully spacious anthem with lovely banked electronics that has a lushness and richness to it that is accentuated by a stunning guitar solo and then almost dissolves and evaporates back into the ethers.

EchoSystem – Synthetic_Birdsong: A more experimental track which is incredibly effective in replicating electronically “birdsong”. It has a nice clipped beat and a call and response that conjures up visions of a 3D aviary when birdlife as we it might be non-existent.

MindseyeFriday, Downtown 1am: A slow-moving, almost slithering piece with the buzz and hum of robotic chatter and a clip clop marking of time.

ADC074 – High Speed Destruction: This piece has an almost drunken drum n bass feel to it rhythmically but is coloured with some interesting textural elements and snippets of conversation but is destructive more in the sense of deconstruction.

Rack & Ruin – I’ll Meet You In The Middle Of The Sky: An exquisite guitar melody echoes and reverberates, setting the atmosphere for a spacious and warm ambience that’s punctuated by strangely comforting created sounds and blips and bleeps, that playfully interact.

Darkslider – Hypnomogia: Chopped up piano notes and a steely buzz give way to banked electronics that steam along like a locomotive engine, fade and then pick up intensity again. Very, and pleasingly, hypnotic.

Gang Violins – Our Hearts Disintegrate: A mesmerising string intro, understated but poignant piano melody and low bass hum, give form to and then melt into a stirring theme that gently rises, cascades over a rock solid drum and fades away as the piano melody returns.

Grecco RomankOrdain: Ominous and quite eerie, this piece has some interestingly textured sounds that sometimes hiss, click and spark around an electronic pulse that bloats and morphs in and out of shape and rather curiously ends with the instruction to “please end all enquiries here”.

Anti Kati – Ambulance: Piano and electronics vie for space and attention in this piece where a sustained thunderclap of synthesisers, with an almost Gregorian chant-like feel to it, drowns them out, ebbs and then returns with another sustained surge.

Cliff Kuti – Day 6: Another rhythmically dynamic and fast-paced piece with arching electronics that buzz, flutter and hum in circular motion with a droning sense of foreboding.

Bravo, bravo and welcome to the brave new world, Blood & Wires and all who have chartered you through these unknown waters. What a revelation.
Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

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