Thursday, November 16, 2006

Xela - The Dead Sea

After a stretch of remarkable releases by a disparate group of artists, Type label boss John Twells turns out his own most recent recording as Xela, his third overall. Referencing Italian horror film soundtracks and with a distant kinship to current doom and noise-laden sound merchants, Twells’ work is suggestive rather than blatantly flashing sharp knives in dark corners. He manages this way to sustain a low ebb of dread. The ramshackle clatter of percussion has a Tom Waits-in-Venice undertow, the perfect accompaniment for bobbing helpless as your ship disintegrates. Sounds and instruments often pull apart from set keys and times suggesting a band drifting apart on floating debris. The album’s narrative tension breaks for brief moments of light and hope like the acoustic jaunt of “Wet Bones” or the faux-heroic accordion parade of “Savage Rituals.” These sounds of salvation are soon drowned out by clanking chains, lonely buoy bells and “Sinking Cadavers.” Twells attention to detail verges on electroacoustic constructivism without sacrificing the musical thread, like a film’s music and sound design sliding together seamlessly. Xela’s nautical horror show is best listened to while safely landlocked.

Type Recordings

1 comment:

ST said...

An amazing album from an amazing artist from an amazing label. Nice work (: