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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Review: Mark Bradley - Absolution



Mark Bradley is a solo performer working in the medium of ambient/drone soundscapes. While his work is reminiscent of other experimental artists who express intangible emotional zones with their work he avoids the bombast of heavy layers, field recordings, arpeggios and sometimes heavy low end for a very minimal combination of what seems to be only synthesizers here.

The album starts out with minimal synths and eerily drifts. It has a very contemplative mood to it, as it slowly drones subtly through your head space. The second track comes through with a darker mood to it. The best way I could describe it is as being very alienish. It literally seems to hover around and searching and foraging the darkness for signs of life.

The second two tracks of this CDR go longer format. The third grows out of a similar drone as the second, shorter piece. This part of the album lulls heavily, presenting a somber mood. What sound like cathedral organs spiral in and out of each other in beautiful interplay. This song is lofty and light, seemingly floating in and out of itself.

The final song is the highlight to me. It starts slowly, with introspective lines. It builds slowy and patterns emerge against the droning backdrop, no longer content to slightly osciliate pitch and tone and to actually establish a rhythm. These lines twist and curl, trickling along in joyous tones. The ending begins to quickly hit a peak right before ending abruptly.

Absolution is a fine album. It won't do much to separate from many other ambient projects unless you have a finely tuned ear. Choosing not to layer in more sounds and instruments may make it harder to get into for more casual listeners, but sticking to a minimal synth approach makes it more rewarding to pay close attention to. Tune out from the outside world, throw this on your headphones and let it take you away.

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P.S. Very cool cover art/presentation

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