Saturday, August 8, 2020
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Title: Descent
Format: CD
Label: Cold Blue
Rated: *****
Chas Smith has been responsible for some of the most acclaimed albums in the Cold Blue catalogue, using a variety of self-built steel sculptures which you can partially see portrayed in the layout of this latest album of his, recorded between 2003 and 2005. Here he bows stainless steel sheets and a variety of bizarre creatures named Guitarzilla or Pez Eater, but he also plays more traditional instruments like steel guitar, flutes and zither. There's also a hint of voice (courtesy of Oja Fin) in the third and shortest track, "False Clarity", but you surely won't be able to detect that. Indeed, Smith heavily processes all the recordings obtaining an ethereal, suspended form of ambient drone music with a monochromatic tinge, not unlike Organum's recent "Sanctus". Despite its title, we always stay in the celestial regions while listening: this is drone music with a skyward gaze. The bass-heavy noise of jet planes, skilfully blent in the lengthy "Endless Mardi Grass", is just about the only sound disturbing the otherwordly peace of these compositions.


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