Music Reviews

cover
Artist: Autoclav1.1
Title: All Standing Room in the Goodnight Saloon
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Tympanik Audio
Rated: *****
Never judge an album by its cover, or in this case, the photo of the musician inside the tri-fold CD digipack. Tony Young (who is Autoclav1.1) certainly looks like your typical goth-industrial musician with a bird-nest hairstyle atop his bald pate, mirror sunglasses, piercing under lower lip, tats (hidden by the long-sleeved shirt in this photo), stompin' workboots, predominantly dressed in black; but the music of Autoclav1.1 doesn't sound like your typical goth-industrial. Au contraire, mon frère; this ain't no EBM/electro-industrial terror-fest. 'All Standing Room in the Goodnight Saloon' is cinematic mood music, despite the participation of such scene luminaries as Leaether Strip's Claus Larsen; Emelie Verbieze of Riotmilloo; Attrition's Martin Bowes; Andreas Davids who is Xotox; Rachel Haywire aka, Experiment Haywire; and Don Hill of Millipede.

For those unfamiliar with U. K. based music producer Tony Young's background, he has a number of releases going back to 2005- EPs, albums, remixes, compilation appearances, collaborations, live performances, etc. With such a prolific output, I'm surprised I haven't heard his work previously, but you can't keep up with everyone. Be that as it may, what I'm hearing here on 'All Standing Room in the Goodnight Saloon' sounds compositionally mature and well-crafted. Right out of the gate, 'Waxing' builds atmospheric tension enhanced by an evocative piano melody, dramatic strings and dense rhythm. It sounds as if it could be the theme of a mystery or thriller. 'Sealed Envelope' continues along these lines with a different piano melody, and bit more elaborate orchestration atop dense percussion as we go deeper into the world of Autoclav1.1. There are more breaks and shifts in this track but a definite continuity between this one and the preceding.

The third track, 'Conquer This Perception,' makes use of the vocal talents of Emelie Verbieze and Claus Larsen, more as atmosphere than a lead vocal track. Emelie gives a brief spoken word intro, and Claus croaks spoken word like some demon conjured from the underworld. There is more sequenced synthwork in this track, yet still the piano melody, string-pads and dense rhythm as the previous tracks and the tempos are very similar. For me, this is the first down-side to the album; no tempo variation so far, and the similarity in the structure of the rhythms employed tends to make it sound predictable.

A break comes on track 4, 'The In Road,' with it's heavily strummed acoustic guitar intro, heavier rhythm track and predominant use of synthesizer, creating a somewhat Western theme. Nice wispy, wordless female backing vocals too. The (spoken) vocals of Martin Bowes are underplayed adding only ambience to the track. Finally, we get a tempo shift on the slower 'Saturday's Steps,' or at least starts out a bit slower. It begins with some neat ethereal ambience with those wispy femme voices again, but picks up tempo and we're back into the melodic piano and string overlays with the dense rhythm track. A vocal sample of a child repeating a short phrase adds a bit of nuance. 'Let Me Sleep (Somewhere)' sounds like a continuation of previous track, only heavier, with an insistent pumping bass and some guitar towards the end.

'There's No More Isolation' might be one of my favorite tracks on the album, for although it uses many of the previous elements employed by Autoclav1.1, it all seems to come together here like magic. Andy Davis had a hand in the (additional) beats and electronics on this one, but I can't tell where or how. Rachel Haywire's only contribution to 'This Town' is the opening vocal phrase, 'This is a fictional slumber.' I like the bold distorted line guitar l which carries part of the melody. I'm reminded of William Orbit here. 'Some Subtle Inebriation' is backed with woozy filtered synth pads (courtesy of Don Hill, no doubt) synth voices and dense strings, but once again there is that sequenced simple piano melody, which is getting a little old by now.

'Alleine In Der Dunkelheit' and 'This Is For Love' threaten to wander into New Age territory, mostly due to the piano. Especially the last track that has a somewhat generic commercial quality about it. (It would make perfect background music for a Prius commercial.) I think more sparing use of the ivories would have been prudent. Deleriumesque rhythms permeate nearly every track too. I would have like to have heard tracks that used much more spaciousness and ambience and were less reliant on the rhythmic element.

Still, 'All Standing Room in the Goodnight Saloon' isn't a bad album; there are some very nice tracks on it. Unfortunately, too many of the tracks have such similar orchestration and melodic content that I can't really call this an eclectic potpourri. But it does make good background music.



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