Black Swan
Black Swan (In 8 Movements)


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
December 27th, 2010 | 102 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dark and immersible,"Black Swan (In 8 Movements)" is a fascinating journey, that for some, will be completely unforgettable.

It’s easy to appreciate an album that can take so many shapes, and mean so many different things to a wide variety of people, touching upon feelings and emotions across a wide spectrum. Case in point: Black Swan’s Black Swan (In 8 Movements). Black Swan is so sprawling, so intrinsically vast and subdued, that the very essence of what it is becomes enigmatic, lost in a deluge of soundscaping, obfuscated amongst the converging atmospheres. And what is Black Swan exactly? Is it artistic expression in its purest form, or is a pretentious attempt at achieving something falsely profound? Whatever it may be, the album's appeal lies in its lack of appeal, as daring listeners will find much to adore.

As stated previously, Black Swan will be a different kind of album-a different experience entirely-for every individual who listens to it. Do with it what you please, and the album will surely oblige. Whether it be needed for background music, concentration, or intent listening, the album can be utilized for so much, that its multi-faceted nature is the very reason worth indulging into the void that is the album’s core. On the surface of things, Black Swan is nothing particularly arresting, trading rhythms and melody for pure unadulterated atmosphere. It’s a dense, dark, suffocating affair, filled to the brim with intensely layered moods and textures. While the separate aspects aren’t spectacularly complex, the album is held up by the strength of the multifariousness of its components.

The album is either an incredibly unsettling experience; a terrifying excursion into the murky hollowness that is Black Swan, or a wonderful musical journey unlike any other. At first listen, the record may seem like a droning mess of ill thought out ambiance, completely convoluted and contrived. The initial reaction may even be one of disdain and boredom, however, subsequent listens reveal that Black Swan requires quite a bit of time and patience to uncover all it has to offer.

The idea to separate the album into eight distinct movements was a great move, allowing for a more cohesive experience throughout. It’s staggeringly unappealing to those unfamiliar with this type of music, and the breaking down of the long form composition into segments was a bold choice, but it works superbly well. The movements are not entirely different from one another, especially during the album's midsection, but they offer up enough variety to make it largely interesting. The movements ebb and flow seamlessly, making Black Swan feel much more organic, seemingly acting like a living, breathing organism.

Black Swan isn’t expressly beautiful, as there is not an abundance of melodies or harmonies per se. Practical instruments are almost exclusively replaced by electronics and sampling, with the product feeling much warmer than one would expect. It is far removed from the cold sterility of many of its contemporaries. The album could be described as something between ambient and drone, with emphasis on the atmosphere rather than on the song structure itself. Although there are eight distinct movements, the ambient atmosphere is prevalent throughout. However, it is the small details that make the album exceptional. The mesmerizing chorus featured on the seventh movement is a highlight, even though it is very subdued and low key. Other minuscule additions make the entire package feel fully fleshed out, as a lot of time and care when into its creation. The production is solid, as it allows for every minute to be completely absorbing. It’s frighteningly immiscible, with the dark, empty void utilizing its enveloping tones to entangle and suffocate, all while being completely entrancing and mesmerizing. This dichotomy is what makes the album so fascinating, so complex, and so immense. However, even with the stunning amount of excellence displayed on Black Swan, the album is obscenely inaccessible. The droning tones and notes will fall on deaf ears, as many are not accustomed to the strange entity that this album is.

Yet despite the album being completely unwelcoming, Black Swan will find its niche, discovering a home in the hearts and minds for those willing to explore its veiled complexities and subtle intricacies.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 27th 2010


10594 Comments


Thanks for the rec academy.

Review was different for me, so I hope it worked out okay in the end.

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

cvlts
December 27th 2010


8960 Comments


aw, was hopin this was The Black Swan OST.

For this reviewer, this album is an incredibly unsettling experience;

randomly went into first person there and kinda disrupts the flow of the review.

prolly will get this for sure.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


31217 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review doesn't really give me any indication as to what kind of music it is. I mean I have a fair idea (I'm guessing it's ambient?) but yeah...

wide variety people,


Missing of

Also, I'd merge some of the paragraphs together, just makes it flow a little better



Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 27th 2010


10594 Comments


Yeah you're right. I completely revamped it, detailing the sound more. I've never reviewed anything quite like this, so describing it was kind of difficult haha : /

Thanks Deviant..

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


6147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This seems quite interesting, especially because it is the soundtrack for an Aronofski movie.

will give it a try.

Kudos for reviewing this.

Digging: Raven Throne - ???????? ?????????

foreverendeared
December 27th 2010


14678 Comments


"This seems quite interesting, especially because it is the soundtrack for an Aronofski movie."

No it isn't


TheSpirit
December 27th 2010


17883 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The version with the last two bonus movements make the album so much better

Digging: Wreodan Heahl - Laecig

foreverendeared
December 27th 2010


14678 Comments


Excellent review Xeno, I need this.

crazyblinddude
December 27th 2010


3389 Comments


Dang. Now I have to pick this one up too! I just finished the last album you reviewed!

Haha but it's all good. It's nice to see you branch into more stuff like this Xeno. I'm sure I'll enjoy this since I'm a pretty big Eluvium fan.

jingledeath
December 27th 2010


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album ruless

TheSpirit
December 27th 2010


17883 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Finally Sputnik is catching on to how great this album is

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


16143 Comments


This is extremely well written, some excellent metaphors and comparisons...but I have to agree with Deviant, I still didn't get a very good indication as to what kind of music this is. You do a great job at some points "It’s a dense, dark, suffocating affair", but at other points your review seems to be saying not much at all "As stated previously, Black Swan will be a different kind of album-a different experience entirely-for every individual who listens to it. Do with it what you please, and the album will surely oblige"

But still by no means a bad review, made me curious to check this out : )

Digging: Alt-J - This Is All Yours

foreverendeared
December 27th 2010


14678 Comments


In all fairness, this is really hard to describe.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


16143 Comments


I wouldn't know, but like I said, I give Xeno credit for the job he did.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


6147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"This seems quite interesting, especially because it is the soundtrack for an Aronofski movie."

No it isn't


really?

my bad then.

foreverendeared
December 27th 2010


14678 Comments


Yeah it's completely unassociated. No need to apologize, how could you know?

Wizard
December 27th 2010


19441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This rules!

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

BallsToTheWall
December 27th 2010


44477 Comments


Over hyped by TheSpirit but still pretty good.

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


6147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm listening to it right now.

This reminds of that demented Belgian electronica act, Kreng, however it does not match the latter in terms of quirkiness.

It's good though.

TheSpirit
December 27th 2010


17883 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Not overhyped balls underhyped



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