Sunday, August 14, 2016

ALOCASIA GARDEN - Survival REVIEW


ALOCASIA GARDEN - SURVIVAL

"Survival" is the latest album from UK noise/ambient project Alocasia Garden. A project straddling the fine line between aggression and serenity, Survival finds itself indulging the best of both extremes. Uncompromising in structure, and fluid and execution, this album assaults, drops, soothes, unsettles, pacifies, crushes, and rebuilds the listener continuously in less than an hour. This album feels like a long, tiring adventure (and I mean that in the best way) heading to an unknown destination. While there is comfort in its seeming aimlessness, the attention to detail and structure provide a clear and apparent artistic and textural knowledge and nuance that seeks to assemble every fraction of aesthetic and detail, and use them all in a harshly focused manner. This is the very definition of structured chaos. 

After the rumbling and choppy opener "Deceive" the album treads into melodic, ambient territory with "Retracing Weakness". A melancholic and hypnotic melody plays over and over through a distorted, waning synth. Tones decay and hold, showcasing interesting harmonies buried bellow the mix. A common theme of this album - at least from a purely sonic standpoint - seems to be a series of highs and lows, peaks and abysses, harsh noise experimentation and melodic chordal droning. Perhaps a comment on a kind of inherent struggle, and the act of rebuilding after said struggle for the sake of "survival". Regardless of intent - if there indeed happens to be one - the sonic boundaries within this album are extremely captivating. 

"Under" and "Prisoner of One Another" continue this pattern of high and low, with the latter being on the the finest moments on the release. Samples of crackling human speech is buried beneath more calm, yet slightly distorted synth worship. 

The title track is pure feedback worship, with cacophonous reverb and pulses crashing underneath. After this we get another textural synth-based track with "Marble Built Above Bone". This track in particular builds such tension and unsettling anxiety within its second half, that it bleeds perfectly into the closer "Scars to Pave a Future." The closer ends with a kind of hybrid between the two auditory ideas we've encountered. While waves of harmonic synths pulse low in the mix, harsh noise and power electronic noodling and peaks soar and soak over top. The final track fades out seamlessly. 

This is easily the strongest release from this UK noise project. It is clear Alocasia Garden are truly honing their craft, and will indeed survive in the long run. 

Listen: https://alocasiagarden.bandcamp.com/album/survival 


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