Monday, March 14, 2011
From Memory - Semiomime
Ad Noiseam Records.
SCQ Rating: 79%
If there’s one thing I love more than a label staying true to its fundamental sound, it’s a label willing to take meditative steps outside of its bubble-of-influence. Semiomime’s From Memory, the new moniker and release courtesy of DJ Hidden’s Noel Wessels, is the appropriate vessel to move Ad Noiseam Records from its break-core stronghold out into an atmospheric, semi-lucid dream-world.
The notion of creating soundtracks to imaginary movies, while hardly novel in the electronic scene, gains some much-needed credibility on the shoulders of Wessels, who understands that soundtracks spend more time being executed than designed. Unlike many imaginary film soundtracks that wander into ambient limbo due to a murky, half-realized narrative, From Memory snowballs into drama and flexes its weight across electronic genres as if complimenting a shape-shifting visual component. (Seriously though, I hope one’s on the way…)
Instead of developing recurring themes, Semiomime crafts an ever-expanding universe that never looks back to re-evaluate itself. In doing so, a piece like ‘Parade’ becomes more of a distraction than part of From Memory’s continuous immersion. Growing ever stranger as it progresses, this seventy-four minute opus hangs in the balance of Wessels’ risk-taking, which, in the name of invention, mostly pays off. Although touching upon all of Ad Noiseam’s more aggressive roots, From Memory’s dreaminess – often anchored by soft bass, electronic keys and organic instrumentation – ultimately controls the record’s powerful nature.
The most curiously inviting tracks seem to crowd the album’s front-end – perhaps because the sonic narrative hasn’t undergone so many twists yet – with ‘Unveiled’ and ‘The Entrance’ casting insular vibes as listeners descend below street-level noise into Semiomime’s abyss. And as later highlights like ‘Pan’s Alcove’ and ‘Hendershot’ emerge, so too does the record’s learning-curve; this is no ordinary song-cycle, its rewards only matching the dedication put forth by its listeners. At once marginalized and inseparable from Ad Noiseam’s catalog, From Memory has the raw inspiration to become one of the label’s cult classics.