Sunday, July 25, 2010
An EP - Cresting (Fixture Records)
SCQ Rating: 73%
If you’ve ever taken a photograph by accident, due to either a finger slipping or someone brushing the lens away, you might not recognize the power of the shot. Not immediately, at least. Whatever that photo failed to capture doesn’t matter because it catches something else – a scene without a focal point, maybe a corner of a room – that you’d never have documented otherwise. That time-and-place nostalgia which adorns An EP’s cover-art can be found hiding within songwriter Gabriel Ng’s seven-song debut.
Similar to the work of Dirty Beaches, Cresting’s scope is measured in minutia by grabbing a certain instrument or refrain and running with it. If the tracks that comprise An EP feel less organically grown than Dirty Beaches' Bird EP, it’s in no small because Ng doctors these experiments for conflict. It works rather well. Although ‘Variation On a Variation’ battles a noisy give-and-take over its two-minutes, what fuels its progression is definitely narrative-bound. The same double-take depth applies to ‘Sprained Ankle’ which bubbles over aquatic keys like a lost b-side from Finally We Are No One. The most arresting of these sonic endeavors, ‘Squared Feet’, builds a tense piano soundscape that grows outward then dies in a moment of static.
Cresting’s motivations are secretive and designed for thoughtful listeners willing to hear songs for sounds. Having said that, the purpose of ‘Crows Call’ and its series of false starts still eludes me. A sometime difficult collection of experiments, An EP can evoke chains of memories by existing out of focus.