Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twomilliondays – Twomilliondays

With Soundcloud offering unprecedented access in terms of glimpses into formative works-in-progress, it has increasingly become a pleasure to watch individual musicians, producers or bands as they develop their sound. One such example is Galway-based experimentalist Twomilliondays. Displaying a knack for enticing, intricate creations since he first started uploading tunes over a year ago, his sound occupies a middle ground somewhere between cerebral electronica, spacious post-rock textures and evocative minimalism.

As his first album-length statement, Twomilliondays is a release of exceptional coherence and depth. It’s also one that, in a way, illustrates the downside of digital Soundcloud/Bandcamp streaming ‘culture’ (for want of a better word): it’s great to scroll down your dashboard, listen to tracks instantly as they’re uploaded, interact and post comments; but even the most attentive of listeners will find that desktop listening doesn’t exactly lend itself to a fully-focused aural experience.

Twomilliondays certainly deserves – and rewards – immersion. These exquisitely layered tracks have an almost mathematical precision to them, yet they are also characterised by an organic warmth that reflects the range of instruments being sampled (guitars, tubas, accordions, flutes…). Setting out its stall with the gently tumbling hooks of opening track ‘Float’, the record is characterised by patiently unfurling, gorgeously textured numbers. The hypnotically chiming intro of ‘Portals’ is interspersed with sparing brass flourishes, its weightless tones gradually giving way to insistent percussion. The elegiac ‘Dadaab’ combines a cyclical loop with distorted, decayed guitar textures; growing in intensity before a gently pulsing synthetic loop sneaks subtly into the background.

As pointed out elsewhere, there are shades of the likes of Autechre or Fennesz evident, but never to an obvious degree: the sound is uniquely his and hard to tie down genre-wise. Among the minimalist and electronic influences there are also hints of Irish traditional music on ‘Organum’s dizzying, increasingly elaborate patterns, while ‘Arcanum’ gives free rein to the percussive tendencies that are a recurring feature on the album. Possibly the best track of all is ‘Solfeggio’, which begins with celestial ambient strains before growing in intensity via a sublime gear-shift.

As implied before, this isn’t an album for snap judgements. Each successive listen will bring out something you hadn’t fully noticed before: background details become focal points; obscured tones and drones grow in clarity; conflicting elements suddenly start playing delightfully off each other. In terms of creating its own absorbing soundworld, Twomilliondays is reminiscent of the likes of Pantha Du Prince’s This Bliss or Four Tet’s Rounds: not genre bedfellows by any means, but the same masterful balance of elements is frequently in evidence. With a second release apparently in the pipeline, this may be just the beginning: if so, the bar has been set high.

AU Magazine » Twomilliondays – Twomilliondays

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