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- Vaughan Arms 003 BLK
- Vaughan Arms 003 BLK / Ltd Mini-LP on Public House Recordings 100 Black vinyl
9/10 Brian Staff review, 30 January 2013
This was a bit of a milestone in the E45 back catalogue as it centred greatly on their instrumental electronica constructing capabilities and much less on the chiming pastoral post-rock they won their fan-base with. I'd say if you like drone, glitch, minimal composition and ambient electronic styles this will probably be the E45 record for you. It is certainly the release I always pull out by them as it suits my pondering frame of mind the most. It is also a little too short to be considered a full album hence it also appeals to my ADHD personality!
Phil once wrote a review for the original sought-after CD release on MMM but on re-reading this last autumn I loudly lambasted him for its berserk and crude irreverence and said I didn't consider it appropriate for this lavish vinyl re-issue he was thrusting onto the world. Instead of calling me a cheeky tyke and slapping me, he instead proposed I write something that didn't crinkle your right-thinking mind-pages too much, like something that actually referenced the music contained herein...talk about creating work for myself.
So I've listened to this eight track mini album another six times in recent weeks to get a refreshed picture and it is still, to my mind, the finest thing they've created, I recalled some dark ambient moods and field recordings from its original release but that was it...it is, however, brimming with so much more! Opening with the lush 'Spires Against Summer Sky', this tune is a bit of a red herring, being an hypnotic merging of metronomic astral spangle, shimmering processed guitar drone textures and balmy reflective chords.
Then we're tripping into an eerie piece, the brilliantly titled 'They Cut into A Hill' that sounds completely nocturnal, their equivalent of a SAW2 vibe. A descending disembodied arpeggio traipses through moonlit fields whilst a malfunctioning CCTV scans an almost deserted quarry nearby. Almost, I say, as the quarry is bristling with hungry jackals feeding on carrion whilst the skies are home to equally ravenous birds. 'Tunnel 1' continues ambling amongst the unheard sonic detritus of the night. This dark piece rides on a cold, slow glitchy mechanised beat and a portentous atmosphere. Real dark, dingy drone textures abound here that recall the likes of Seasons (pre-din). Possibly the creepiest thing I've heard by E45?
After that, we've a burst of some nice running water which leads into a brief piece built from hollowed reverberating piano tones. Gorgeous. Still a pretty melancholy number but at least we're out of that pitch-black sound-world of before (although I long for more) 'Vanishing Britain' is the closest thing on here to an early Ai records style track. Remember that ace Yellotone EP? An inquisitive processed guitar melody bolsters this lovely sad-hued tune which has absolutely everything in place - evocative synth lines, warm cymbals and the soft echo-laden beats you always adored from the best melodic/downtempo IDM records. I wish this song was 3-4 times longer.
Next, 'English Clock Systems' is an infinitely pretty piece of displaced neo-classical melancholia whilst the subsequent 'Tunnel 2' returns us to the malevolence and edginess of the imposing twilit-world we stumbled into before. Paranoia lurking at every corner Yes, this is music with corners. Very dark ones. The finale is a wonderful piece of kosmische reflection with these delicious drowsy Eno/BOC-style suspended-in-the-clouds type keys, very dreamy and nostalgic, this ambience truly does work.
'Drakelow' is a cool journey indeed, I crouch stealthily with baited breath to get my copy of the vinyl. There's only 100 pressed on black wax, I believe the remainding 300 are of a grey/silver effect so don't sleep too long.
8/10 Paul Stokes Customer review,
If you are into electronic music this is a real gem. Totally atmospheric, just superb. To those of us who have been involved with the site to which it relates it is a perfect musical picture of the place.You really should re-release it.
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