Vessel - Order Of Noise
With an already stellar roster of electronic bands in their arsenal, it seems as if Tri-Angle records can do little wrong. Over the last few years they've very much pioneered interesting and challenging music eminating from the electronic underground, in a way that's really broken through and seen successes beyond darkly lit basements. To the casual observer, the label's output has been dubbed as quite similar, with not massive amounts of variation in sound between stalwart artists like Holy Other, Balam Acab and Evian Christ with that lazy tag 'Witch House' being bandied about on blogs, but when you listen a bit deeper all the artists reveal their own idiosyncracies and secrets.
This new release from fairly recent signing Vessel is definitely an album that revels in subtlties and secrets. Nothing is particularly obvious on this record without really listening deeply and plucking things out for yourself. This creates rather a beguiling listen, as opposed to a more frustratingly hidden one. It wouldn't be too far to say that this record is like a dusty tapetry being unraveled, as one gazes in delight at all the worn out pieces of art upon the ancient relic.
Opener to Order Of Noise, 'Vizar', is instantly intriguing and epic sounding. It gives the impression of a space ship taking off with a low bass rumble and futuristic swathes of synthesiser bubbling underneath. It sets a precedent for something quite special which is met expertly with second track 'Stillborn Dub'. It has the wary hiss and bass throb of a Burial cut, but with a big drum hit that clashes through the atmospherics at it's leisure quite startlingly. It's moments like this that make what would have otherwise been a more introverted minimal album that bit more exciting. The big heavy almost industrial noises on 'Images of Bodies' for instance set against a deep bass wobble make for really engaging listening. It's still not perhaps quite as unrelenting as the likes of Blawan talking about hiding bodies under his garage, but carries the same paranoid sentiment without even needing lyrics.
The experimentation with dub Vessel delves into is also a striking feature of this album. The likes of '2 Moon Dub' shows to the producer's credit, that he knows exactly what he is doing with the time honoured genre. It's bassy, highly danceable and sounds pretty damn amazing on a good speaker system, just like all dub should.
By far Vessel's biggest achievement on Order of Noise is the 7 minute opus 'Lache' half way through the track listing which the rest of the tracks seem to orbit around. It's a mightily impressive centrepiece that blares out glitch dub in a way that's more imaginative and ambitious than one might expect. It's remarkable how the track (as well of the rest of the album) manages to convey emotions like paranoia and depression without even needing lyrics, a feat that has only been rivalled in a similar style this year by Actress and Holy Other.
For what could have been a basic Tri-Angle bluprint album, Order of Noise is often thrilling and jammed with ideas that are really interesting to slowly uncover on repeat listens. Great job Vessel.