Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Artist: woriedaboutsatan (@)
Title: Crystalline
Format: CD + Download
Label: Sound In Silence (@)
Rated: *****
worriedaboutsatan is basically Gavin Miller (ambient electronics, guitar), from Yorkshire, UK, with a little vocal help from Sophie Green on this album, which is worriedaboutsatan's sixth, I believe. Over the years, worriedaboutsatan has shared stages on tours and supports with a diverse array of musicians, such as Underworld, Ólafur Arnalds, Clark, DÄlek, 65daysofstatic, Tim Hecker, Pantha du Prince, Braids, HEALTH, Kiasmos, Pye Corner Audio and many more. They've also played a number of music festivals between 2016-2018.

Can't say I've heard any worriedaboutsatan previously, but on 'Crystalline' Gavin doesn't seem particularly worried about Satan to me; in fact, the music doesn't indicate he's worried about anything. Not to say this is all happy-go-lucky; it's more ambient minimalism along the lines of Brian Eno, It's not drone, but more atmosphere with somewhat minimal light guitar phrases, and gentle bass, maybe some cello (sound) here and there. Sophie Green's ethereal vocal are wordless and swathed in reverb as if they're part of the atmosphere. Of course, there's an aura of melancholy throughout the 8 pieces on the album totaling a mere 35 minutes. Percussion/rhythm is used sparingly, and the pacing is predictably slow. Repetition is a formularized factor as you might expect, and also might give the (false) impression that this kind of composition is easy to do. The way worriedaboutsatan orchestrates the music is everything though, and not just anyone can do that well and make it sound anything but dull.

While not omnipresent, Miller's ambient guitar adds a uniqueness that transcends typical ambient minimalism. He hits all the right notes when they need to be hit, and never does more than necessary to get the (atmospheric) point across. I also find it interesting that Miller looks a bit like a young Robert Fripp in pictures I've seen of him, although he'd probably be the first one to deny the resemblance. There are tracks on 'Crystalline' that sound like an actual band, maybe the lighter side of the Cocteau Twins without Liz Fraser. For what does not apparently seem to be a wide variety of sounds, worriedaboutsatan does manage to pull together a wide variety of compositions that never seem to wear out their welcome, as long as you're in the mood for them. Numbered and limited in the traditional Sound In Silence format to a mere 200 CD-r copies, or digital download if you'd rather go that route.


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