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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Record Review - Layers Of The Onion


LAYERS OF THE ONION
Hal-An-Tow

If the band name and booklet photos (two hirsute, accordion-wielding minstrels surrounded by instrumental exotica) prompt thoughts of Incredible String Band copyists, think again. This is very different stuff.

That said, the opening track, with its lapping waves, languid acoustic strumming and glockenspiel accents, treads a fine line between psych-folk langouresness and new-age vacuousness.

'In The Land Of Sona-Nyl' ups the weirdness quota, all spooky drones and mettalics and eerie, otherworldly shimmers. Volcano The Bear drummer Aaron Moore patters away restlessly, creating an atmosphere of druggy, ritualistic improv. You can almost smell the fug of incense and marijuana smoke.

'The Muspel Light' closes, with 24 minutes of layered drones and blurry reverberations; impressionistic sweeps of sound which match the dry, austere ambience of contemporary classical music to the more wayward experimental palette of the avant-garde, as sounds emerge from, and then disappear into the mix. This is immersive, unsettling music. 

Neil Hussey

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