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- Chants of Niflheim by Natural Snow Buildings
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 15 April 2011
Here we have a new release from everyone's favourite Gallic drone duo Natural Snow Buildings, one that is some kind of Record Store Day (copyright: the man) release but isn't part of the main thing or something hence we are allowed to sell it now to you lucky, lucky people. I've heard the guys in this very office bang on about these lot but as I'm usually too busy dissecting the later work of Take That, I've chosen to ignore their plaintive cries. What we have here is a series of beautiful drones starting off with what sounds like a heavily effected sitar churning round accompanied by distant female singing and eventually ethnic drumming. What I like most is the overloaded sound of the thing, bits of feedback breaking through the mix, metallic clanking sounds coming off the instruments as they are over-driven to distraction. The second track starts with bowed cymbals, eerie electronics creating a fantastic swathe of sound that ebbs and flows again with a churning feel to it as though the music is a thick gloopy substance being sloshed around in a barrel. There is certainly a signature sound though Phil here reckons that this is a little more laid back and out there than earlier releases. On the second part of the title track, the music is more airy, more ambient using earthy synths and hiss in order to create an ocean like atmosphere, snatches of what could be violins echo into the mix and out again. Therein lies Natural Snow Buildings appeal; they have wonderfully organic natural (natch) sound and you are never really sure which instruments are being utilised at any given time and what is vocal what is not etc. It retains that kind of mystery whilst also providing soundscapes you can really lose yourself in.
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