Look towards Colin Stetson and Warren Ellis and Nick Cave soundtracks, take a cello, loop pedal and an array of effects and travel via noise, post-rock and doom influences. This is where you’ll find Montreal’s Alder & Ash. Minimal yet cacophonous it swings between gentle and emotionally tense to distorted relief. Incredibly limited physical copies made.
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Lost Tribe Sound deliver us further laments from the paling, greying world of their nightmares with ‘Clutched in the Maw of the World’, a record made by perhaps the most melancholy cellist team in the game, Alder & Ash. This record begins its misery in media res, its cello brooding as if it’s always been soundtracking the world below; played in gorgeously melodic style, it’s made into a hope-abandoned melodrama through guest spots from doomy noise and marching rhythms.
It gets real on “A Seat Amongst God and His Children”, where overdriven distortions begin to navigate the record away from its sorrow and into peril. Squeaking strings begin to conjure storms; the cello, at this point low and thunderous, recalls Colin Stetson making one of his dronier tracks, or cellist droners Mohammad in their brief moments of pantomime. Like these artists, Alder & Ash navigate these seas of overture and sheer disorientation very well: “The Great Plains of Dust” sounds like it’s set course to be a dissonant rhythmic slab before meeting washy chords and a lede melody. It’s never certain how far into the fog we’re going to go.
This elemental despair will be no stranger to followers of the label, who’ve put out releases by seafaring naysayer Seabuckthorn and neo-classical worrywart William Ryan Fritch. Like those records, ‘Clutched in the Maw of the World’ twists and turns its ambient inklings into something shocking and breathless.
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- Clutched in the Maw of the World by Alder & Ash
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