A couple of reviews surfaced over the weekend for The Last Few Seconds Before Sleep. Annoyingly due to a vague technical distro issue, the running time is being reported/referenced a few places at 28:46 although the album definitely has a running time of 42.55. Just one of these things.
First up, Resident Advisor who gave it a 3.5/5.
“By means of modular synthesis”—that’s how Scottish drone artist Erstlaub describes the providence of his work, and it’s hard to think of a string of words that signifies more in this context. They speak to literal process, of course, but maybe even more so to the kind of granular attention—to texture, timbre, tone, etc.—that gets paid by those who get really, really, really into sound. For just a little less than 30 minutes, “The Last Few Seconds Before Sleep” stays static and evolves, planting a pole in ambient stillness but following a through-line that moves in minute ways. It sounds a bit like Gas with rusty water towers in place of trees, or even more so like the product of a lot of listening to Eliane Radigue. The title doesn’t fit especially well: there’s too much tension suggested here, or at least implied, to fall into slumber.”
Then a nicely fuzzy and glowing review from Boomkat. Pretty pleased to be mentioned in the same breath as Jeck/Kirby/Koner.
“The latest transmission from Ruaridh TVO’s Broken20 imprint is an extended workout from drone specialist Dave Fyans AKA Erstlaub. The album is apparently is inspired by the sound that enters Fyans’ mind in the brief moment between wakefulness and sleep. “Aware of this clarion call but powerless to act”, he says. “I know this sound inside out, a minute piece of sonic cartography that contains all the information in the universe, like the whirring of a vast organic hard-drive as the processor performs a memory dump between logic and something much bigger…much weirder. Delay lines feed back to Omega Point; choirs of particles stream towards event horizons. Perceived time holds no sway here; this vast but tiny sound contains all of time and space and possibility.” Though in truth we have no freaking idea what this sound he’s banging on about is, the music that it seems to have inspired is wonderful, and yes, it vividly evokes the liminal space opened up as unconsciousness beckons. There’s real grace and poise to this half-hour piece, dubbed-out percussion rubbing against drones of near-liturgical heaviness, its richly detailed but somehow very pure atmospherics carrying the listener from dank underground interrogation chambers to celestial heights and back. Inner space investigations rarely come as deep or as absorbing as this, and Erstlaub’s real talent is in coaxing big emotion out of subtle, miasmic drift. A hearty recommendation for fans of Leyland Kirby, Thomas Koner and Philip Jeck.”
You can purchase it for the really almost too good to be true price of £4.99!! from the Boomkat link above. Thanks for the ongoing support.
ps. I just realised after copying over the RA review that I’ve never actually heard Radigue although I’ve seen her name around quite a lot. It’s a pretty good comparison, I’ll probably check out more of her stuff but, alas, it will always be Delia that rules my heart when it comes to amazing temptresses of sound.
pps. after a wee bit more research on Radigue, the whole thing seems to resonate entirely to my theory of post-cultural premonition. Despite having not actually heard her before yesterday, I can REALLY see the connection, even down to her method of working (all modular, one continuous take, etc) So if anyone out there fancies buying me a Buchla and an ARP2600 then I’ll be more than happy to test out the continuity.