Slow Listener - The Long Rain

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  • Since its inception last year, Jonny Mugwump's restlessly eclectic Exotic Pylon imprint has been a source of numerous unexpected delights. The Long Rain, though, is perhaps the imprint's most compelling release yet. It's the work of Robin Dickinson, AKA Slow Listener, and features two cassette side-length pieces of cracked, murky ambient: lo-fi sample collages that sound as though their edges have been worn down through use, faltering under the strain of the half-broken machinery that formed them. As a recipe, it risks tipping over into blandly "sinister" territory; fortunately Dickinson has a knack for teasing a quiet melancholia out of his source material. The Long Rain both begins and ends with moments of gorgeousness. "And Nor Was He Mistaken" opens with trembling bell-like chords and a voice intoning, with mantric regularity, "the light." "Ondras Rising" closes with curlicues of feedback that weave through one another with a stumbling grace. Elsewhere, the palette is more spartan but no less delicate. "And Nor Was He Mistaken" advances in a stately fashion, each texture—the furtive clinking of metal, a ragged electrical hum, soft-edged drones—steadily advancing into the foreground before receding to allow the next to take its place. "Ondras Rising," meanwhile, is a little more erratic and abrasive: after a restless opening where strangled tones periodically threaten to burst free of their constraints, the glacial momentum seems to falter, leaving us with a mild sense of purposelessness. Still, Dickinson soon regains his stride, and the latter half is given over to a snatch of bizarre monologue, masterfully looped and layered over itself at different pitches to create a mulchy, dissociative canon of sorts; strange, yes, but addictively so.
  • Tracklist
      A And Nor Was He Mistaken B Ondras Rising