Belong
October Language


4.5
superb

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
April 25th, 2009 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A pinnacle of ambient/glitch music, October Language is an affecting meditation on melancholy and decay.

In 2006, New Orleans was a mess. Hell, it’s still a goddamn mess, with houses in disrepair due to sloppy remodeling jobs (that were funded by our trustworthy and always-dependable government!), whole neighborhoods that are still in ridiculous disrepair, virtually untouched since Hurricane Katrina ravaged them, and other problems. Belong’s October Language was recorded pre-ravaging, but it might as well be a reflection on those horrific events, which were experienced firsthand by this New Orleans-native duo. Each piece on October Language is wistful and nostalgic, filled with memories of a better time; yet most are on the edge of corroding, from losing all focus on their simple but effective melodies into hopeless decay: it’s a simple metaphor for what Belong’s hometown has sadly become.

On another hand, disregarding the whole Katrina thing, October Language works just as well on a personal level, for me and for others. Its distorted ambience; its shoegaze-light feel; its spurring of feelings such as nostalgia and melancholy---it’s the type of album that anyone can relate to. Yet, despite its obvious beauty, I’ve found it hard for me to really classify October Language. On one hand, it’s an ambient album: songs are freeform and floating, never becoming particularly singular or obvious, keeping ordinariness and normality at bay. On another, it’s a shoegaze album: every piece is layered and layered with distortion and feedback, and there are gaspingly beautiful melodies to be discovered underneath, each minimalistic and poignant. I could be indolent and call it a drone album---in the vein of such luminaries as Birchville Cat Motel or Natural Snow Buildings---but there’s so much more going on here, in terms of dynamics and decomposition, that limiting this to such a term would be severely understating the case. In short, maybe October Language doesn’t need a bullshit, limiting classification; maybe it speaks well enough for itself.

That being said, there’s still no doubt that October Language is a remarkable album; a moving portrait of melancholy and sadness through varied and meaningful instrumentals. Belong never let these pieces get overly interminable or exasperating, slicing up bite-sized pieces that are easily consumable for even the most virgin of listeners to experimental music. Each track swells with vigor and grace, scaling one peak after another. October Language’s best pieces---"The Door Opens the Other Way”, “Remove The Inside”, “I Never Lose, Never Really”---are as good as ambient (okay, so I am being indolent here) music gets, each being dynamic enough to be interesting, as in they build from quiet, meandering tones to breathtaking sections of unsettling noise. Thankfully, these pieces never become overly cluttered or chaotic enough to be completely inaccessible. They’re just engaging enough to lose yourself in; nothing more.

October Language is filled to the brim with affecting and heartrending moments; it’s up to the listener to unearth the moments that affect them the most. So, in short, some of my favorite moments in October Language: the opening build-up from serene to chaotic in “I Never Lose”, which ushers in the album nicely; the scatterbrained feel of “Who Told You This Room Exists?”, which always feels as if it’s on the brink of putrefaction; the heavy, droning middle of “All Equal Now”, which is so loud and enveloping it’s nigh-impossible to not get hopelessly and wonderfully lost in its abyss. These are simply personal favorites: there’s a multitude of similar, equally emotional happenings throughout October Language’s forty-five minutes, each one relatable, each one destined to form and become your sort of own personal soundtrack, whether you’re contemplating a city that’s been shot to hell or walking tiredly to school or just trying to sleep. It’s a flexible, wide-reaching album, the type that, once you first listen, you find that it’s hard to ever stop.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Emeritus
April 25th 2009


17241 Comments


good shit

foreverendeared
April 25th 2009


14677 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

REALLY good shit

Kiran
Emeritus
April 25th 2009


6021 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I could've sworn this had a review before :. Good album.

pixiesfanyo
April 25th 2009


1223 Comments


don't think that this is really a 4.5. it is good.

jpattison
April 25th 2009


125 Comments


Listening now, and I like it a lot
very peaceful

Mikesn
Emeritus
April 25th 2009


3708 Comments


Nice. Sounds like something I would like.

AlexTM510
April 25th 2009


1450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review



seems like i would enjoy this....im a sucker for this drone stuff its awesome

Altmer
April 26th 2009


5700 Comments


namedropping NSB is a good thing

Doppelganger
April 26th 2009


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so is this like the fun years

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
April 26th 2009


864 Comments


This sounds like something I need to check out, especially if ^^. Surprised I haven't already. Really good review too.

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 26th 2009


3741 Comments


there's a lot more going on in the fun years, and this is just a really little bit worse than that, but they're mostly pretty similar.

AlexTM510
April 26th 2009


1450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that was awesome. Is the colorless EP worth checking out too?

This Message Edited On 04.26.09

MassiveAttack
April 27th 2009


2754 Comments


By the looks of your recommended artists I should check this out.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2009


22453 Comments


I somehow missed this review when you posted it Cam. Good stuff. One point/question though: You mention the word "glitch" in the summary and then don't follow up on it in the review, preferring to use drone, shoegaze & distorted ambience. Please explain...

Athom
Emeritus
May 4th 2009


17241 Comments


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glitch_(music)

joshuatree
Emeritus
May 4th 2009


3741 Comments


^^^yeah, what redsky put
glitch and distortion are synonymous, glitch is basically electronica/ambient music with splices of distorted cracks, scratches, and other intentional errors in the music, making the music sound distorted
basically i'm assuming the reader knows this yeah i shouldn't do that but it's just a summary

Enotron
December 5th 2009


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love this album. it sounds like something merzbow would make if he was forced to listen to nothing but shoegaze and brian eno for a month.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2009


15532 Comments


i never lose. never really


is really good

Enotron
December 8th 2009


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so robertsona, what do you think nick greer thinks of this?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2009


15532 Comments


wat



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