Wednesday, June 3, 2020
«« »»
Artist: The Silent (@)
Title: Volume 1: Wake
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bastion Records
For this release, Edinburgh residents Connor Doherty and Stewart McLachlan (together otherwise known as Shudder) adopt the moniker 'The Silent' and endeavour over twenty-four hours to write and produce music from scratch. The fruits of this sleepless session are the three compositions on Volume 1: Wake. Sound sources are nearly exclusively acoustic rather than generated electronically: voice, instruments and diverse household objects make up the bulk of the material, although plenty of manipulation goes on. Together, the pieces seem to offer a rough corresponding narrative of the whole process as it unfolded: the EP begins with a fully fledged, lyrical song and follows up, as the effects of sleeplessness develop, with a pair of simpler experiments.

The song ('Wake') is a melodramatic number led by slow, textural piano. The vocals are mixed low, making their originator sound distant and a bit lost. As it trudges through a pair of crescendos, the tone is distinctly uneasy. Finishing on a gloomy piano motif, the song is followed by 'Glisten', which consists of scarcely more than a quiet, distorted beat and intermittent, piercing chimes. It's great though; the harsh metallic resonance and harmonics are very satisfying and slightly sinister, like a meditative environment turned abrasive. Finally, 'Howl' revisits the style of the first track, incorporating similarly clattering rhythms and use of piano. Guitar is more prominent and vocals provide wordless background texture.

The EP is impressive for something produced in a single extended session, though the limitations of these circumstances are readily apparent and there isn't a great deal we haven't heard elsewhere. One gets the feeling these pieces could have been improved over a longer period, but this is an issue already anticipated and dismissed as unimportant by the EP's underlying concept. While the band claim on their release page to have "suffered from the sleep deprivation aspect of it" in the later stages, for me the latter two tracks are more successful than 'Wake'. In particular, the simplicity of 'Glisten' works in its favour; narratively it resembles an interlude, but really holds its own as an atmospheric, redolent moment. It'll certainly be worth hearing what the duo comes up with on the second volume.