Music Reviews

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Artist: Stuart Bruce
Title: 3 Quintets for Treated Guitar
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Outside Records
First of all, let me state categorically to eagle-eyed readers that this is NOT my work. The fact this reviewer’s name matches the artist name on this release is one of life’s little coincidences. We really, genuinely, aren’t the same person. Google it. This Stuart Bruce was engineering Do They Know It’s Christmas while I was still in primary school.

But this solo release, on Stuart’s new label, falls well within the realm of the experimental sonics that I’ve reviewed plenty of on ChainDLK. Soft, mellow drone tones and pad-like sounds unfolding slow melodies complemented by lush and languid sustained and processed guitar notes, this is top quality avantgarde soundscaping with a strong pedigree.

After the smoothness of “Stillpunkt”, with its dusting of gentle percussive twinkling like gentle wind chimes, “Klangfarben” as the name somewhat implies is a little more raw, with slightly harsher hits and percussive hits that may have been derived from pulling guitar strings in unexpected ways, though it could also be synthetic, it’s hard to tell. Halfway through “Klangfarben” the sense of unease and alarm builds somewhat, it’s decidedly the most sinister of the three pieces, and it’s the reason why this release won’t end up on my going-to-sleep playlist.

Final piece “The Moon In Your Head” is the most melodic, and the most akin to a conventional-sounding quintet in some ways, with separate and panned instruments complementing and counterpointing within an environment that still has the bass notes underpinning it, but yet overall is a little brighter and more optimistic, particularly in the near-euphoric patterns at the end.

There’s quite a classic feel to it at times, a confident simplicity. When the synth bass drone ebbs forwards joined by careful use of delay it can sound like a particularly mellow Tangerine Dream track at points.

I did not make this (honestly I didn’t), but I wish I did.



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