Friday, 23 December 2011
Review: Carbon Based Lifeforms - Twentythree
Carbon Based Lifeforms are one of Ultimae Records' core acts, and Twentythree is one of precisely three new artist albums the label put out in 2011. Ultimae, as I've mentioned previously, do not fuck about with this kind of thing, and so just about anything they release is going to be brilliant. You don't even need to listen sometimes - if you're in the mood for some panoramic ambient, you know it's going to be there, you know there'll be an album you haven't heard yet and you know it'll be extremely good. And bang - Twentythree is extremely good.
CBL are pretty versatile - they can do acid heavy trip-hop, floaty space music or minimalistic droney ambient equally well, and Twentythree mostly focuses on the latter, with a little bit of field records thrown in on Kensington Gardens and the faintest of electronic rhythms on Somewhere In Russia. Most of these tracks are extremely "inert", which is to say they don't ever appear to be going anywhere, or moving at all, but they draw you in to a galaxy of ultra-deep sound. No coincidence that one of the tracks is called Inertia. This isn't the most fun album you'll ever hear, and if you need outright melody to enjoy your music you'll probably be bored stiff by it, but Twentythree is what I would call an expandible album - it works equally well at extremely high volume as at extremely low volume. You can play it quiet and it's good background noise, but put the headphones in and it becomes unbelievably vast, to the point you're soon in total headspace.
Granted, this isn't an album I'll be playing too regularly. Few of the Ultimae releases are, with the exceptions of the HUVA Network albums and Solar Fields' trance album, but that's for the reasons mentioned earlier. There are twenty equally good albums I could pick from on this label, so each individual one won't get much relistening unless it's mega special. This isn't quite that stellar, but it's still comfortably better than 90% of the albums that have been released this year. We're just spoiled for choice with Ultimae.
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 8/10