Release code: ODI3015632
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Release Info: Dalhous Visibility Is a Trap EP (2014)
Artist: Dalhous Title Of Album: Visibility Is a Trap EP Year Of Release: 2014 Label: Blackest Ever Black Genre: Electronic Quality: FLAC (tracks) Bitrate: Lossless Total Time: 19:31 Total Size: 103 mb
Tracklist: 1. Dalhous - Active Discovering (3:24) 2. Dalhous - Information Is Forever (4:09) 3. Dalhous - Sight of Hirta (4:13) 4. Dalhous - A Change of Attitude (2:45) 5. Dalhous - He Was Human and Belonged with Humans (Regis Version) (5:00) It wouldnt be technically inaccurate to call Dalhouss new EP Visibility Is a Trap an ambient music record its full of lush, slowly shifting sounds. In general, its far more concerned with texture than rhythm or tune, so it meets the genres main requirements. But the description doesnt completely fit. By definition an ambient record, even a great one, is supposed to be able to function as aural wallpaper (and be as ignorable as it is interesting, according to Brian Eno), but even at its most tranquil moments Visibility refuses to fade into the background. While it has some genuinely blissful passages, its mostly just unsettling in a way thats difficult to pin down if it was actually wallpaper, youd swear you could catch its patterns shifting in your peripheral vision. Unsettling has been the duos default mode ever since releasing the 2012 EP Mitchell Heisman, named after a man who committed suicide in 2010 and left behind a 1,900 page exposition on the nature of human existence as way of a suicide note. Visibility is a subtler work, from its titular referencea line from Michel Foucaults Discipline and Punish in a passage regarding Jeremy Benthams Panopticon, a prison where inmates are never out of their supervisors viewon down. The Foucault reference establishes a paranoid dread that Alex Ander and Marc Dall spend four songs probing and building on with a palette of druggy synth pads and woozy sub-bass deep enough that it might actually be capable of messing with your inner ear. (Theres also a remix by Regis of He Was Human And Belonged With Humans, from last years An Ambassador For Laing LP.) Ander and Dall are so good at setting an ominous mood that when they shatter the tension on track three, Sight of Hirta, by dropping in the EPs only real beata stuttering, stroboscopic thing that slides around a straight dance rhythm but never sticksalmost a traumatic experience. Visibility is supposed to be inspired by Dalls interest in the self-help and anti-psychiatry movement, particularly in the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, whose views on the nature of mental illnessand his insistence that the emotional and mental experiences of the mentally ill shouldnt be treated simply as pathologiesmade him an outcast in his profession but a hero to anti-psychiatry activists. Laing, anti-psychiatry, and self-help all figured into the 70s New Age movement, and, with its plentiful pads and lack of drums, Visibility often evokes New Age music, as well as a general macrame-encrusted hippie-dippy vibeThe burbly synths on Active Discovering sound like they could have been pulled from an especially out-there block of programming on PBS during my childhood in the Me Decades afterglow. But Dall and Ander like to subvert that feeling as soon as they establish it, and by its halfway point the songs dissonant elements have accumulated into a sinister edge. Like David Lynch or Stanley Kubrick, Ander and Dall are happy to present their audience with a bunch of ambiguities that they leave hanging in the air at the end. Their refusal to let the record resolve itself into something that can be easily sorted or explained makes it easy to play it on repeat, trying to find a new angle to approach it from.
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