Bespectacled producer Richard “Hexagonal Packaging” Neale follows last year’s Eves with new EP Growth + Decay. Though it retains its folky tinges, the spontaneous live instrumentation of Eves largely gives way to digital loops of short phrases, layered and built up into something quite dramatic. As before, mastered by James Plotkin.
CD £4.99 RAINBEAR006CD
CD EP on Rain Bear Records, housed in custom made, die cut, hexagonal packaging. Mastered by James Plotkin.
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Following last year’s excellent ‘Eves’ release, it’s the return of Richard Neale unto the Norman bosom with another new EP on Rain Bear records. First I have to mention the beautifully made, custom die cut card packaging which once more underscores Neale’s middle name -- ‘Hexagonal’; the way the whole thing unfolds is really quite clever. Just like the way the music does the same, in fact.
Two longform tracks, here (‘Growth’ and, um, ‘Decay’); the first of which unveils entrancing loops à la William Basinski -- simple, gentle piano motif upon which dissonant ambience and choral multi-tracked voice (his own?) spiral off with found sounds amid a pin-drop-quiet-to-very-flipping-loud crescendo -- complete with a pummeling 4/4 beat -- somewhat in the vein of Sigur Ros or early Mogwai. Post-rock ambience can barely disguise the unsettling, dizzying effect this is having on my post-caffeinated senses, however.
Things get darker on track 2; horror-movie-type strings loop around more choral textures, unnervingly and almost upsettingly dislocating me even more. Some lovely drums, with a nice kick and some shuffling syncopation, weave amongst the subtly shifting textures; the overall effect is hypnotic and trance-inducing. It’s not an altogether pleasantly dream-like ride, of course.
A bit like the most surreal dream -- from which I eagerly anticipate being awakened -- but altogether captivating and fascinating nonetheless. Another mightily impressive work from this master of atmospheric evocators.
P.S. / Caveat:
There’s a reprise on track 3, an edit of the previous track. Just when you thought it was safe to remove your headphones.
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