Thursday, 1 December 2011

Review: ASC - The Light That Shines Twice As Bright

ASC Light That Shines Twice As Bright
Observant readers might be thinking I'm on sort of ASC binge right now, having listened to his Intex Systems album yesterday and now his new ambient LP, The Light That Shines Twice As Bright. This would be foolish for two reasons: firstly because I'm always binging on ASC, and secondly because I don't have any readers yet. This blog is about a week old. Stop being daft.

Seriously though, ASC is just too damn good, and he just Won't. Stop. Releasing. Music. Try following him on Facebook for a day. It's exhausting. Your feed becomes dominated by announcements of new material he's got coming out every bloody day on every label imaginable. Drum 'n bass, ambient, techno, film scores, sample packs, remixes, collaborations... the man is some sort of studio robot, incapable of sleep, remorse or of releasing a bad track. It's enough to make all us procrastinating, unmotivated writers/artists/musicians weep in shame. Where does this man get his creative energy from?

As his material becomes ever more ambitious and expansive, it's perhaps surprising that this is his first full-length ambient opus, although more are inevitably set to follow. He's already finished the sequel! Of course, recent releases on his own Auxiliary label have been very ambient-y, but we've yet to get more than an EP of the stuff from Clements until now. And come on, it's obviously going to be good. It's got a Bladerunner reference right there in the title, it's released on trendy Canadian label Silent Season, it's got a limited 300-copy CD run and there's a track called "Irradiated Software". You know this is the shit, right here.

And yes, The Light That Shines Twice As Bright is just as awesome as you'd imagine. It's spacey and grainy and a little bit droney, it sounds a bit like his mate BVDub mixed in with, I dunno... Biosphere, and some other shit, and it's very beautiful and absorbing and would probably be one of the best albums of 2011. EXCEPT! Many of the tracks seem to cut off jarringly, alarmingly, like they were never supposed to end there at all. It's confusing and frightening and it feels very much like that moment where you're drifting off to sleep and you get the sudden inexplicable feeling of falling, only to jerk upright in alarm and realise you're completely horizontal, you're in your bed and it's 1am and you're now wide awake again. These sudden endings violently wrench you out from your immersion in the album's deeper-than-deep ambient soundscapes, and so they pretty much ruin the whole point of this otherwise excellent record. Which is a pretty inexcusable fuck-up by whoever is responsible. I'm looking at you, faceless office monkeys at Silent Season, because this shit has never happened on any ASC record before, and you picked a damn poor time to butcher one of his albums. Who knows what beautiful mysteries were contained in those missing seconds of music, denied to us by some ham-fisted Canuck? Not me, which is why I must regretfully label what should have been one of the easiest winners of Music, 2011 as a bit of a disappointment. I hope someone in British Columbia is staring at their metaphorically blood-stained hands right now, screaming "What have I done? What have I done!!!?"

Genre: Ambient
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 8/10

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