Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Music Review - Ember Wreath

Ambient music is by far a hard place to nail things down and critique. I must admit, though, my first problem with Ember Wreath's latest release, Ember Wreath II, wasn't the difficult concepts of the constructs of the music, but the use of a line from that ridiculously predictable television show, Lost. I watched that show for a good 10 episodes, gave it a chance, and never looked at it again. This album is likely to go the same way.

Ambient music, for those unaccustomed to it, is not just a bunch of sounds mashed together with a Jackson Pollack like randomness. Their is a purpose to it, and Ember Wreath definitely shows direction and some semblance of idea. The problem, other than gratuitous use of crappy television quotes, is in the production value. There is a definite hiss on most tracks which, to me, indicates use of less than quality equipment or a lack of knowledge on ow to edit those sorts of sounds out in production.

If there is a saving grace here, it is the track "sleeping with the lights on". On this track the cacophony overrides the hissing (or masks it really) so that a listener can enjoy the music and not think, "Is this recorded on my dad's old TASCAM?". There are also some nice parts of "prodigal" but over excessive tubular sounds demerit the darkness of the other instrumentation.

Where to hear Ember Wreath:

RIYL: Mogwai, Ghosts by NIN, Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Chris said...

I think this is an absolutely incorrect depiction of Ember Wreath's second album. Granted it was not the best recording quality, but the music is recorded well enough that I, and several other musicians found it to be enjoyable. Also, you missed the purpose of the music because you were stuck on the lost references. I am not a fan of lost either and at first I didn't like the quotation. But I did my research and found a deeper meaning. I suggest you do the same if you wish to be taken seriously as a critic.

PJ Hagerty said...

Chris -

Thanks for the critique. It was a little harsh, but that's part of this critiquing music gig I suppose.

First, while you "and several other musicians" found it enjoyable is great, it doesn't have anything to do with my review of the music. As a musician myself there are lots of artist I enjoy that other critics bash. Such is the nature of this eclectic thing called modern music.

Second, the "Lost" reference is not something I was "stuck" on, it was something Ember Wreath seemed very keen on getting out there. And frankly, references to TV shows are a bit cliche.

Lastly, I can't argue "the purpose of the music". That's like a high school English teacher explaining to me what Steinbeck meant when he wrote Of Mice and Men. I don't really care what he meant, I thought it was crap.

And that's really what this boils down to. This blog is for me to have fun writing about music I find outside the main line. If I really wanted to be "taken seriously as a critic" I imagine I would work on getting stuff published. This stuff is more for the promotion of people promoting there independent music and showing people there are options. Not making a name for myself as a critic.

Thanks for your feedback and sorry it took so long to get back to you.