A slew of reviews posted this month of ‘ore’ below, including Textura and a few blogs. They seem to really have given the album a good spin, which is always appreciated. The newest one was just posted today on a new music netlabel/community site.
Modisti Music Box
The album gets underway with a since of impenetrable stillness, as further evoked by the opening track’s title: ‘Iron Lake’. This eleven-minute gloom-scape drones in a subtle, muffled fashion, dropping hints at more uplifting melodies without ever quite finding the necessary energy to escape the slow, contemplative sonic swell set out by the Stars Of The Lid-style glacial phrasings. The album is consistently rewarding throughout its three-quarter hours of slo-mo chord changes and tonal sustains, but towards the end it starts getting eerie. ‘Flames In Blackened Sky’ and ‘Raven’s Dissipation’ call upon the kinds of sculpted dread you’d hear from a Svarte Greiner record whilst the vast, expansive ‘Shadow Leaves’ lays bare a grim, mournful string-bowing – sounding like a more desolate version of A Broken Consort. Recommended.
Ore, Marielle Jakobsons’ first darwinsbitch full-length, presents a remarkably assured exercise in electro-acoustic dronescaping. Using sine oscillators, violin, piano, bells, and other acoustic sounds, Jakobsons, who also plays in the duo Myrmyr (with Agnes Szelag) and Date Palms (with Gregg Kowalsky), stitches seven settings into an uninterrupted, forty-six-minute mass of malignant miasma. The opening piece “Iron Lake” emerges from glutinous fog, the track’s stillness reinforced by a phalanx of humming electrical drones and the saw of a violin. It’s the latter’s presence that gives darwinsbitch’s music a character that separates it from that of other sound sculptors. Deploying it judiciously, Jakobsons uses its moaning cry to humanize her desolate and gloom-ridden landscapes. In similar manner, a harmonium occupies the forefront of “Silver Sphere,” gently illuminating its mournful ambiance with crystalline tones before the album plunges into a darker, subterranean zone of nightmarish rumbling (“Flames in Blackened Sky”). Descending deeper, sine tones rub dissonantly against one another in “Raven’s Dissipation” while the high-pitched whistle of the violin haunts the background. The exhausted sounds of industrial machinery, bells, and a broken piano dominate the thirteen-minute closer “Shadow Leaves” with the violin theme heard in “Iron Lake” re-appearing to bring the album full circle. Jakobsons shapes the blurry tendrils of the eleven-minute requiem “Iron Lake” and the album’s other six pieces with an impressive degree of patience, control, skill, and delicacy. Though understated by design, Ore nevertheless impresses as a tour de force.
Bay Bridged Blog
Lastly, we discussed Ore (Digitalis; 2009) by Darwinsbitch. Marielle v Jakobsons of Oakland uses this moniker to create a soft and beautiful nightmare in which violins pick the pockets of unsuspecting oscillators and subversive melodies slowly give way to new hiding places. In the past, drone had failed to captivate me in the enduring ways I had heard others describe. But Mike had faith, and I was completely taken. Rich in murky dissonance running along rivers of noise that could serve as the soundtrack for Brian Bolland’s version of Batman, the sonic landscape blurs dark space from which this red album stems. This music sneaks to a place where nothing is safe or certain, a cold drizzle continues, and there is little hope the shadows aren’t capable of eating you.
darwinsbitch is Marielle Jakobsons, who expands the sounds of her violin with a wealth of noises and effects to make, in Ore, a beautiful, quiet, nocturnal record that doesn’t force us into doing or feeling anything. If you want to leave it in the background, it’s quite happy to remain there; if you want to concentrate on it, there is plenty to listen to. Perhaps this is why I feel a sort of drifting as it unfolds: from the dimly-lit woods to being wrapped up at home, from wakefulness to sleep. You may find yourself in entirely different places and states. Wherever you end up, Ore is a beautiful accompaniment.
It is hard to talk about it as a whole – it’s extraordinarily well done, and maybe there’s nothing more to be said – so I find myself latching onto a detail: the use of sine waves. It always feels strange and oddly beautiful to find them in something as natural-sounding as this record, since they are about the least natural sounds you can imagine; the aural equivalent of those primary colours we were taught never occur in the wild. They’re clear at the start of the final track, ‘Shadow Leaves’, but their most telling appearance is towards the end of ‘Induction Cuts’. Here, all other sounds drop away, leaving only the pale, dimly shining sines that were there all along. The effect is heart-stopping, like hacking your way through a thicket to discover a perfectly still and clear pool of water.
If the appeal of this lies in the unabashedly synthetic serving to enhance, rather than destroy, the organic, perhaps it’s appropriate that this album has been released by Digitalis. To see that word and think digital isn’t quite a red herring, but you must also remember that digitalis is the Latin name of the foxglove. (stilton)