Record review: (a is to b) – Electric Grief [Dreamdark]

a2828028554_10Rumours have been circulating recently that David Lynch might, just might, work on something Twin Peaks related again in the near future.

Remember Laura Palmer’s prophetic words – “I’ll see you again in 25 years”… well nothing evokes the shadowy red curtained otherworld of the Black Lodge quite like the music of (a is to b) – it’s uncanny, dream-like and subtly unsettling without having to resort to extreme aggression and shock tactics.

The EP starts with ‘Urban Foxes’ – “What’s so unsettling about foxes?” you ask, fresh from viewing ‘What Does the Fox Say?’

Well have you ever heard one of these creepy fuckers howling? It sounds like a human in serious pain, and there’s nothing quite as creepy as hearing that while you’re safely tucked in bed half asleep.

Is that spine-chill moment the inspiration behind ‘Urban Foxes’? Perhaps not, but it might as well be.

Off-kilter out of place almost-jazz vocals meander throughout, undercut by creaking high-end electronics that sway from left to right, and a bass-kick hitting persistently like the knock on a medium’s table.

In ‘Paper States’, the sparse dark-ambient beats are more lush and layered, yet still with a good sense of space, arrangement and careful admixtures of textures.

‘Banquet’ is more unique in structure; it starts off with a grim tone poem, a string of macabre musings concluding, “pain is all we have left”.

This is followed by a couple of minutes of ambience, before recapitulating with the spoken word passage.

The only pain this EP leaves us with is its very brief length—the three songs clock in at just over eight and a half minutes.

This is all very promising stuff, but such atmospherically focused music usually works best when the listener is able to properly plunge into its murky depths and explore.

With Electric Grief, we’ve only just got our feet wet.

Words: Calum Calderwood

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