Grave Nature: Ascending (Lotta Continua/Flag Day, 2019)

July 7, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Grave Nature: Ascending

Former WCBN DJ Chris Matthews plays in the dream pop group Distant Creatures, but here he branches out with his instrumental project Grave Nature. This is vast, deep stuff filled with strings, guitars, synths, acoustic percussion, and even power tools. It’s somewhere between Barn Owl and Stars of the Lid — dark and doomy but not exactly approaching metal, with space rock and neo-classical influences. The album was built over 2 years from several sessions (some improvised), and it’s so layered and detailed. Just witness the subliminal voices buried underneath “Ephemeris”, or the way “Azimuth” erupts into noisy storm clouds. But then there’s more delicate moments, like the pianos on “Barco” and “Pale Blue Dot”. “Twin-Bodies” is where it gets a bit cosmic, but not quite in the same way as every band in the last decade who tried to sound like Tangerine Dream — this sounds more like blasting off into space using a rocket assembled in someone’s back yard. “Plotting One’s Course” is mellower and sways to the rhythm of hand drums. “Aligning Instruments to Astral Coordinates” is one final convergence of strings, horn, and heavenly feedback. CD and download available from Bandcamp.

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