Sticks and Bells and Ancient Spells by Black Tempest

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Sticks and Bells and Ancient Spells by Black Tempest
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8/10 ReviewBot3000 10 September 2013

Stephen “Black Tempest” Bradbury is back this week with his latest serving of cosmic slop and in fact his first full-length outing since ‘Secret Astronomies’ more than two years ago. The album starts, somewhat surprisingly, with what sounds like Morris dancers on the lengthy title track (which I guess explains the title), but before long Bradbury is delving into some blissfully blooping arpeggios and wibbly analogue synth drones.

‘The Crack Between The Worlds’ then takes us out into deep space with some slowly swooping new age drones that would go well with some kind of laser show in an observatory. Totally relaxing but with a creepy edge and a couple of unsettling guitar touches. Next up in ‘Pyramid’ those drones are joined with some insistent Zombi-esque synth pulses in a soup of blurred synth bleeps and whooshes. If John Carpenter had made ‘Hellraiser’ I expect this is how the soundtrack would’ve sounded.

Finally he goes full hypno on ‘Morning Star’ with some plaintive flute rubbing up against insistent robotic modular loops and gentle atmospherics in the most relaxing distillation of Bradbury’s new age-meets-dystopian aesthetic; well ‘Demolition Man’.


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