The expression “ambient sublimity” appears in the liners, but this is not ambient. The label “electronica” gives no satisfaction. Compositions? Too weak. And even considering the world’s nastiest stereotype, namely the “soundtrack for an imaginary movie” definition, The North Bend works just a tiny bit of a little. The essence of this outing is that it doesn’t fit anywhere; in case you didn’t get it, this is not a compliment. Apart from a couple of well-placed sub-frequencies, there’s no real substance behind the sounds; that’s the cruel truth. This tentatively blissful proposal is entirely based on a façade of slow-as-molasses themes repeating ad infinitum, immersed in a processor-generated fog with (I believe) the addition of gauzed field recordings. This makes for a rather unremarkable proposition, basically consisting of five ebbing-and-flowing lullabies for dull evenings with a single colossal defect: interminableness. Particular mention must be made of the overstretched “Traces”, which becomes annoying after four minutes (and it lasts ten plus). Irisarri attempted to mix two or three elements photocopied from clearly understandable derivations, justifying the whole with profound motivations in the accompanying writing. Unfortunately, the latter only manages to highlight the disproportion between intentions and actual outcome, transforming the idea of an intimate contact with natural phenomena into holiday postcard commonplace. Time is up for a restructuring of Room40’s quality control department.

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