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- Return The Tides by Rob Mazurek And Black Cube SP
8/10 Robin Staff review, 31 October 2014
Sound the alarm and let it play in my band. That seems to be the direction conductor Rob Mazurek is giving on ‘Return The Tides’, which begins with a couple minutes of acoustically arranged jazz dissonance, percussed to give the feeling that a nuclear sub’s just got word there’s a spy in their midst. Give it a few minutes, and it becomes obvious that these opening moments of strangely blissful confusion are a way for Mazurek to compose himself -- the important thing is that he wades through this torrential orchestration, coming out the other end with a spry, repetitious riff on electric guitar that recalls the beauty of Dustin Wong’s solo work. All the while, his band are working their way out of the nightmare with him, straightening out their music into a conventional post-rock climax worthy of Do Make Say Think’s hope-gazing on ‘You, You’re A History In Rust’. It’s all a bit cosmological, really: the music can be a frightening mess, but it’s composed to keep on keeping on, until it finds the ultimate peak. Despite all the screeching sax and whirring bluster of this first track, there’s a lot of melodic persistence to keep us alive.
Mazurek’s electronic tinkering comes in full force for the last five minutes of the track, which shifts between Godspeed! eeriness to a kind of Tame Impala groove like it’s the done thing -- as long as there’s someone blowing sax in the backseat. It makes for an interesting diversion, but it’s the hopeful and constantly building moments of ‘Return The Tides’ that are most appreciated: the oscillating noises and drones only really feel like a waiting game, the record’s third track caught in its own insular world of thrumming, flatlined beats and gruesomely sampled noise. Track four brings back the intensity with tight, exciting rhythms and structure, while still offering a haunting atmosphere that mixes Constellation artists Godspeed and Jerusalem In My Heart with Miles Davis' playing from 'Sketches of Spain'. The composition feels suppressed and suffocated, all air removed through the maddening percussion, which covers every corner in darkness. It’s a fitting ending: there’s not much breathing room in ‘Return The Tides’, but sometimes there’s the chance to hyperventilate.
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