Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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Craven Faults: Erratics & Unconformities

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Artist: Craven Faults
Title: Erratics & Unconformities
Format: CD & 12"
Label: The Leaf Label
In the description of the first full Craven Faults album (after a series of EP’s and the excellent recent “Lowfold Reworks” 12”, some of which are bundled in full as bonus tracks on the CD edition of this), we are painted a series of florid atmospheric vignettes, ranging from canals in rural Nottinghamshire to studios in 1967 Manhattan. It’s a disjointed, abstract pitch and a classic case of a press release that gives you very little clue what it’s going to actually sound like.

Luckily though, the music itself is far far more consistent and single-minded. Pulsing warm electronic patterns are the order of the day, taking the analogue modular synth sounds familiar to electronica and stretching and thickening them into broad synthetic textures.

“Vacca Wall” owes more than a little to Tangerine Dream sonically, yet across its seventeen minute span it progresses relatively little even by TD standards, with relentless arpeggiation that seems to adopt the Philip Glass approach to mesmeric repetition- a brave move, but one it certainly succeeds at. Following track “Deipkeir” has such a similar make-up that it rolls into one 25-minute piece. “Cupola Smelt Mill” offers a gently different groove, a soft simple kick pattern and some sawtooth pad wishes making it feel substantially more optimistic.

It’s only in “Slack Sley & Temple”, filling the first side of the second disc in the double LP set, that we hear a small flourish of recorded environmental sound- but rather than being the opener to a new approach, it’s just a brief bookend to another elaborate and quite purist dive into electronica, this time slower, with an almost twangy low pulse note over an extra-rich bass. Slightly more industrial percussive sounds give a little extra grit as it goes along, a broodiness that’s interrupted by the generally chilled “Hangingstones” but restored in slightly funereal final piece “Signal Post”.

It’s one of those releases where lack of breadth or diversity has been adopted into a virtue- 72 minutes of fairly similar-sounding electronica, based on a fairly small set of ingredients, but unrolled with a confidence and steadiness that becomes quite intoxicating as you sink deeper into it. While it didn’t quite live up to the high expectations I had from the remix EP earlier in November, it’s still a rich and quality bit of deep electronica.


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