OREN AMBARCHI / KASSEL JAEGER / JAMES RUSHFORD – Pale Calling

Black Truffle

Over two sides of a vinyl LP, this collaboration intertwines elements of dark electronica and minimal melodicism defined by peculiarly elongated, if not entirely deformed features. The conjunction with processed sonorities from the animal world and somewhat bleak environmental shades adds puzzlement spiced with a couple of pinches of uneasiness.

“Pale” is a walk across a post-industrial tundra, biological activities still ongoing but with a clear impression of inevitable degradation. The pace is deliberate, nearly contemplative – on the surface. In fact, an implicit tension remains perceivable throughout; some of the noises heard recall amplified gastric activity. The reference in the title is pretty obvious to get, the organ melody of “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” materializing in a slower-than-molasses whisper from the outset to the conclusion.

“Calling” proceeds with the same type of ominously calm musicality; one feels the urge to speed the tape up to discover eventual songs camouflaged in the piece’s very insides. The “vocal” component – more disfigured than in the preceding half, and at times truly anguishing: warped monkeys, anyone? – contributes to an overall sense of misshapen reality. Constant under-the-soil crawling, relatively “easy” electronic constructions and the underlying mixture of corroded concreteness and barely human organicness balance the unexpected appearance of blaring major chords-cum-female choirs and lonesome harmonicas. I didn’t manage to realize about nods to famous tunes on this side; forgive my deafness, just in case.

A strange and unique album. Imagine instrumental outtakes from David Bowie’s Low and Heroes left to rot in the marshlands, and you can get an (admittedly vague) idea of how Pale Calling works on the ears.

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