Greek label Sound in Silence run by Absent Without Leave’s George Mastrokostas (how about a new AWL album George?) isn’t a stranger to bigger names on their roster. They have released albums by the likes of Bvdub, Strafænn Hákon as well as a bunch of other names such as Hessien, Good Weather For An Airstrike, Caught in the Wake Forever to name a few. The latest big name to add to the roster is Odd Nosdam aka David P. Madson who is best known as a member of cLOUDDEAD and Co-founder of the hip hop label Anticon. He also runs the Burnco Records label that has digitally released this with different art.
The label describes the release as “The sound of LIF can be described as the continuation and expansion of “Music For Raising“(Ed note: Madison’s 2015 album on the Baro label), blistering with analog loop chains that soak in the resonance of tremolo, tape-delay, space echo, distressors, and many other trusted devices in Odd Nosdam’s toolkit. Very little computer processing occurred during the making of LIF, relying heavily on hand triggered elements that cycle into an endless bridge between pulsing loops and shape shifting overtones. Imagine a horizon where sunrays find traces of openness around gloomy backdrops of clouds, organically centered as a jump off point into another realm of existence.” A source of inspiration was “Dlp6” from William Basinski’s “The Disintegration Loops IV”.
The album begins with “MIG” which sets the tone for the rest of the album with its hazy loops and repeating tones. Unlike the Basinski albums (which appear to be fully loop based), the album appears to be a more electronic experience with the use of echo effects and the ambient crystalline structure.
“RAI” follows the tones in “MIG” and adds a dubby feel to the music with the pulses between the chiming loops. At times the music retreats like if affected by weather. Coincidentally the album was created during January and March this year, when the Bay Area was going through a particularly wet period and this is reflected in the feel of this track.
The title track “LIF” introduces a darker atmosphere to the previous tracks with certain elements like the chimes being deeper in the mix and the haze being increased. Going with the weather/environment theme you can see a change in the surroundings. Utilizing loops there is an amount of degradation which adds to the sonic texture of the piece and follows the continuation of the album.
“AIN” is the shortest track on the album and is clearly affected by a rain storm. The predominant feature of the track is the ever present haze which is looped relatively quickly giving a pulsing wave of sound that is opposite to equally paced melodic dusty loops.
“SES” sees haunted distant tones with tremolo and echo that soar out under the dubby underground and hazy looped foreground. The use of the tremolo sounds after “AIN” gives the feel of post rain light coming through the gloom.
“KEL 1” what sounds like twangs guitar is looped alongside the dubby haze that cuts thought the track. A distorted/noisy undertone prevails and begins to cloak the track in static noise. “KEL II” is like reprise of the previous track but unlike the previous one, the static distorted noise encompasses in all making the dubby section fight for the small section that it is featured.
“REN” brings throbbing drones that sound like affected accordion or some sort of squeeze box like instrument in the way that they seem to be taking a breath before starting to again. There is an underlining static that feels random compared to the previous loops and is more of an accompanying sound that a feature.
“TRO” sees fractured ambience that has a definite nostalgic feel to it. It has chime like tones that are looped in a melodic rhythm while clipped static and haze cut through the track quite quickly breaking it up. The fractured ambience in a way can be reminiscent of Oval in it’s cut up and looped, yet melodic feel. The mix if the track allows elements to come com and centre them retreat giving it some variation to the others.
“BOM” continues with the pulsing haze and dubby loops, but is further down in the mix with a different tone front and centre. The features of the track are consistent in the loops and the pacing to the rest of the album, but tone is an ever so slightly darker one which makes the difference. I am not sure of the source instrument but it has features that remind me of small sections of “Isn’t Anything” era My Bloody Valentine guitar tones.
The nature of looped based music is that it is going to repetitive, this is a given. With this release Odd Nosdam has put his touch on it and his own impressions via the influence of the weather. Reading the accompanying text on the labels bandcamp page helps like listening notes and gives more information to the listener on construction of the album.