Unfathoms
Lay Down and Sleep on Some Velvet Hill, for the Li


2.5
average

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
February 25th, 2011 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: gay

Austin Tracey (a.k.a. Bitchfork, a.k.a. Unfathoms) listens to a lot of music. Pretentious shit, weird shit, overtly “normal” shit to balance out the weird shit--William Basinski washed down with a chaser of Lauryn Hill, perhaps?--but, overall, a lot of shit. And then he makes music; a good amount of it, too. We can question the integrity of what he chooses to listen to or the inherent quality of his seemingly impulsive releases as Unfathoms, but there’s something so charming about the whole cycle that you can’t help cheer him on (along with maybe silently wishing that he listened to a few less bands with names like “Gnaw Their Tongues”).

That said, the sort of transparency (i.e., we can hear what Tracey's listening to via his own music) that is one of Lay Down And Sleep...’s most alluring aspects is also the cause of a few of its problems: the album is a little messy, a little overstuffed; as ridiculous as it sounds considering the nature of the release, it could use some editing. This is to be expected, though, and Lay Down And Sleep... actually has some great material on it. In particular, the first three tracks act as great moodsetters: “Precious Magnetic Fields,” Tim Hecker-esque in its grumbling machinery, gives way to “An Epilogue...,” which explodes with endless clipping and cinematic death choirs. “Spreading the Width of Its Tight Pinch on Gravity” uses chilling dissonance as a chaser to the paroxysms of the first two tracks, and, for these three tracks, it seems that Tracey has finally honed his ambient/noise skills into something resembling a “professional” (if not “accessible”) approach--one that finally rewards the listener as much as it challenges them.

That being said, the EP is just too uneven to give the full thumbs-up. The last four tracks, in particular, are not as unpleasant (which, paradoxically, the first and best tracks are) as much as they are boring. “Bite Not the Hand...” uses a formula similar to “Spreading” but doesn’t do much of anything during its three-minute span. Though this is an attack that can be levied against most ambient music, the track also lacks any aesthetic value--it’s not pretty, it’s not exciting, it’s not as thrillingly discomforting as the earlier tracks. To put it simply, it’s just there. The last three tracks, all solo improvised piano pieces entitled “Crisp, Never Circulated,” fare even worse. For one, the actual piano sound used on the tracks--one that comes close to ruining “Precious Magnetic Fields”--is terribly flat and artificial, not even defensible by Tracey’s DIY aesthetic. In addition, the pieces themselves are uninteresting and go nowhere. Though improvisation can lend itself to this quality, there’s simply nothing to grasp onto, and the pieces float by without making much of an impression.

Overall, though? A good effort from Tracey, and, in its own way, an inspiring one. This is a kid who, after listening to copious amounts of black noise, ambient and the like, can replicate and even change the formulae of some of his favorite artists, and makes it look so easy. Even though his own ambitions (or, perhaps, lack of ambition) can get in his own way, and though this is a release that’s far from perfect (its inconsistency, in fact, makes it hard for me to fully recommend), it’s definitely a sign that he’s on his way, at the very least. Keep it up, Austin.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2011


16440 Comments


hey i know this guy

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2011


15052 Comments


i really wanted to like this a little more (esp. considering this might predispose him not to like my stringer barksdale release haha) but i know that bitchfork has something awesome hidden inside him and this aint it. but its so cool that he makes so much music and all that YOU GO LIL MAN

opening track is awesome

SeaAnemone
February 25th 2011


20559 Comments


sputnik preteens


Digging: Dirty Beaches - Stateless

Ponton
Emeritus
February 25th 2011


5804 Comments


great read

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2011


15052 Comments


ALSO ALL YALL WHO ARE INTERESTED IN SPUTNIKERS MAKING MUSIC THE OBVIOUSLY VASTLY SUPERIOR STRINGER BARKSDALE HAS AN ALBUM OUT

http://stringerbarksdale.bandcamp.com/album/stevedores-2

THNXXXXX

AggravatedYeti
February 25th 2011


7685 Comments


I don't mind Bite Not the Hand that Feeds You... at all.


robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2011


15052 Comments


well how about i take a dump on your face and we'll see who minds what now

bungy
February 25th 2011


8843 Comments


"ALSO ALL YALL WHO ARE INTERESTED IN SPUTNIKERS MAKING MUSIC THE OBVIOUSLY VASTLY SUPERIOR STRINGER BARKSDALE HAS AN ALBUM OUT"

lmao you are the biggest whorer of yr own stuff ever

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2011


15052 Comments


yeah 8)

AggravatedYeti
February 25th 2011


7685 Comments


I'd much prefer if you didn't.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 25th 2011


10614 Comments


Your reviews are always so entertaining....

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

lobby
February 25th 2011


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

why the fuck hasnt it been mentioned yet...

Gnaw Their Tongues is pretty much the greatest name for a band. band rules too.

Meatplow
February 25th 2011


5524 Comments


lol b4k is gonna be awesome at this by the time he is like 20

his stuff is raw as shit at this current point though, can't say I fully like it. dude needs to refine himself a lot more, and learn better software

Slum
February 25th 2011


2579 Comments


have never been too impressed with his stuff

Realm
February 25th 2011


2074 Comments


i'd read this and pos if i didn't think you were annoying and a poopface mc gaytron

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 25th 2011


15052 Comments


8(((((((

Realm
February 25th 2011


2074 Comments


i read it


it's nice

Bitchfork
February 25th 2011


7584 Comments


yeah I will post a d'l link soon to this if y'all be interested.

I almost 100% agree with this: "That said, the sort of transparency (i.e., we can hear what Tracey's listening to via his own music)"
Except I read up on music a lot and take that knowledge about it and ignore the sounds of the genres and just sort of set a mood - more interested in the feelings associated with the sounds. It's like I do the music and then I get really into the genre. Like right now, I'm making EAI/noise with some fellows I know and I'm obsessing over it. So like the opposite of that.

Also I really appreciate this review because I've heard a bunch of different sides to it - some people like you are big on the first half and not so much on the latter, I've had people say that the Crisp tracks are best and then I've had people like the first and fourth tracks best and then I've had like a few people give it high ratings because they listen to it while stoned as fuck. So thanks, as it's really interesting to see how something I don't really see as inaccessible have such a vast array of opinions.

And it's definitely my ambition that is my downfall because I'm so impatient and hate not being able to do it all at once, which leads to me being relatively unfocused even if this makes so much sense to me. Basically it's like rah rah messy lo-fi rumbles with blast-beats and then a big ambient section and it gets lighter and lighter like the aftermath of a war, which reflects the title, and it's a big story and I know it all and I love telling it to people.


Anyway the point is I'm dumb and thankful you did this.

Bitchfork
February 25th 2011


7584 Comments


http://www.mediafire.com/?fyntvua38zf18

gay file
laughed at summary
pos'd


"sputnik preteens"
14 shut up naha

wyankeif1337
February 25th 2011


6739 Comments


the man takes it like a true gentleman. i might just bitch and get butthurt, props



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