Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It All Falls Apart - The Sight Below

It All Falls Apart

The Sight Below
Ghostly International.

SCQ Rating: 76%

What seemed so exemplary about Glider, Rafael Anton Irisarri AKA The Sight Below’s 2008 debut, was how it introduced his craft fully formed. His ability to evoke complicated strains of hope and melancholy from looped guitars was enough to turn any laptop purist green with envy, while even his fondness for 4/4 beats fronted an audiophile-worthy understudy of distinct details and subtle, offsetting rhythms. In short, Glider presented an artist perfecting one of electronica’s most compelling subgenres live-off-the-floor and its iron-tight focus left little need for second offerings. Fittingly, It All Falls Apart acknowledges the finite possibilities of continuing Glider’s dancefloor-cinematics, stripping back its thumping beats and diving into the murky echoes of Irisarri’s rippling guitar-work.

If Glider was understandably misinterpreted as an homage to Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas project, It All Falls Apart imparts a more sprawling facet of The Sight Below’s unique sound that suggests a closer affinity for shoegaze. With his signature beats marginalized to later tracks, The Sight Below devotes the spotlight of ‘Shimmer’ and ‘Fervent’ to his effect-laden six-strings, creating waves of ebbing drones that bleed into one another, all grays and blues. Think of it as shoegaze evaporating; its muddled guitars like upside-down icicles dripping toward the heavens, forming cloud-heavy structures from whispered progressions. Some of this inherent robustness owes credit to Slowdive’s Simon Scott, who reportedly contributed to the whole of It All Falls Apart and offered insights toward Irisarri’s expansive new compositions (none more so than ‘Stagger’, the thirteen-minute closing track that meanders but never aimlessly, dawdles but never tediously). What else could encompass shoegaze in the year 2010 as truthfully as this series of muddled explorations, swagger-less and spectral?

Like The Field’s strategy on Yesterday & Today, Irisarri permits It All Falls Apart’s extensive track-lengths for the sake of mixing new techniques with older ones… and it’s time well-spent. The metronome-like pulse of Glider still finds some vistas to occupy here, pushing the Copia-era Eluvium haze of ‘Burn Me Out From the Inside’ forward or sifting between the surface of ‘Through the Gaps In the Land’ and its dim oblivion. Besides these two tracks showing off the subtle evolution Irisarri first promised with last fall’s Murmur EP, the reemergence of some beat-driven compositions goes far in complimenting this follow-up’s new direction. Also in line with Yesterday & Today is how The Sight Below’s first vocal presence (courtesy of Tiny Vespers singer Jesy Fortino) is a first cover (Joy Division’s ‘New Dawn Fades’) which should thrill some noir-minded indie-kids as thoroughly as fans of gloomy electronica. Both tragically brooding mood-music and fatalistic dancefloor fodder, It All Falls Apart matches its cover-art by sounding, dare I say, cosmopolitan… the type of record that evokes numbed sensuality as clearly as it does overcast landscapes.

No comments: