Esmerine are one of the finest of the several acts that have grown out of the peripheries of godspeed you! black emperor. New album Mechanics Of Dominion is a diverse collection, with marimbas, amplified music boxes and horns all appearing in both brand new recordings and unheard material restored from the archives. Released by Constellations in CD and lovely LP-with-art-prints editions.
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Oh, this is lovely. From the opening strains of bowed, vibrato cello and fluid tinklings of piano all the way up to its dramatic coda. Continuing their trend of a new and remarkable record every two years for I-can’t-tell-you-how-long, are Esmerine -- the set-up of members from GYBE, Set Fire To Flames and others -- on Constellation, of course. Full of drama, full of Beckie Foon’s wonderful cello skills, of Jérémi Roy’s bass *and* contrabass underpinning throughout, of Brian Sanderson’s piano and violin and valved cavalry horn skills, of Jamie Thompson’s delicious drums and delicate percussion, and of Bruce Cawdron’s skeletal marimba and melodic glockenspiel (sometimes bowed as well as struck. Obviously.)
I’m falling more and more in love with Mechanics of Dominion with each track. It’s like getting into a pool: you tentatively dip a toe in, then lower yourself in slowly, and steadily immerse yourself in the clear water. Which turns out is the perfect temperature. The music has all the grace of one of your favourite neoclassical records (maybe a Hauschka or a Bing & Ruth) with all the intensity of a full-on rock band. Chamber-music arrangements collide with towering sounds, all enveloped in subtle timbres. The tension created between violin, cello and piano on the track ‘¡Que Se Vayan Todos!’ and then the release upon the onslaught of drums and noisy crescendo / Sturm und Drang is a particularly vivid and wonderful moment on a record full of unselfconscious, unabashed grandeur. There's an undeniable, sheer rush of adrenaline accompanying the combined effect of guitar and strings on the title track.
There's plenty, plenty more to be discovered besides... A pure joy of a record.
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- Mechanics Of Dominion by Esmerine
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