The tide is high

. . . and dark­ness came

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - BRIAN KEANE

Dig­i­tal stock­ing fillers don’t come much bet­ter than this. The brain­child of on­line mu­sic site Head­phone Com­mute, . . . and dark­ness came was in­spired by the cat­a­strophic af­ter­ef­fects of Hur­ri­cane Sandy. With pro­ceeds go­ing to Doc­tors With­out Bor­ders and The Hu­mane So­ci­ety, it’s a mu­sic project that tran­scends ge­o­graph­i­cal bound­aries and lo­gis­ti­cal lim­i­ta­tions.

Com­pleted in a mat­ter of weeks, the com­pi­la­tion gath­ers cus­tom- writ­ten and pre­vi­ously un­re­leased ma­te­rial do­nated by 87 artists world­wide. For fans of drone, am­bi­ent and mod­ern clas­si­cal it’s a mouth­wa­ter­ing propo­si­tion. Along­side es­tab­lished names such as Jo­hann Jo­hans­son, Max Richter, He­lios, Ham­mock, Last Days, Dustin O’Hal­lo­ran and Nils Frahm are lesser-known artists mak­ing sub­tle ad­vances that merit fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing Peter Prautzsch, Olan Mill, Saf­fron Keira and Waves on Can­vas (on the ros­ter of Dublin la­bel Pyscho-nav­i­ga­tion). As far as im­mer­sive lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ences go, the al­bum of­fers both a snap­shot of the abun­dance of tal­ent op­er­at­ing in th­ese – ad­mit­tedly – left-field cre­ative zones and the op­por­tu­nity to un­earth mi­nor gems, whether it’s Fabrizio Pater­lini’s gor­geous light­ness of touch on a pi­ano and strings piece, There’s a Light We Might See, the stately lay­ers of melody on Takahiro Kido’s Sweet Si­lence, or Black Swan’s all-en­velop­ing Of Land and Water, which re­calls drone-am­bi­ent heavy­weights Stars of the Lid.

Epic in both scale and scope, there is more than enough to sat­isfy afi­ciona­dos al­ready fa­mil­iar with th­ese artists and styles, and en­cour­age those with a cu­ri­ous ear to take a closer lis­ten.

Of course, mak­ing a co­he­sive whole from an al­bum over six hours long is a daunt­ing task, but the care­fully se­quenced track list­ing os­cil­lates be­tween dark­ness and light, de­spair to hope, cre­at­ing an in­tense, emo­tional jour­ney for any­one will­ing to take the plunge. Lu­mi­nous, in­spir­ing and richly re­ward­ing, this is, quite sim­ply, a stun­ning col­lec­tion for an ex­cep­tional cause. head­phone com­mute.band­camp.com

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