Review Summary: Swells and swells.
Lee Noble’s No Becoming
is a rather concise collection of dense, swelling ambient tracks. Sometimes all of the songs’ swirling hints at something bigger and better to come, with slight increases in volume, or occasional sonic changes, but most of the time, the songs just keep on swirling ‘round and ‘round.
The album’s opener, “Cop Show,” is mostly made up of eerie synth patterns and a distant drumbeat, but certain patterns do come and go, giving the song some dynamics. Yes, it is an ambient album, so I know that dynamics aren’t exactly that
valid of a thing to complain about, but if a song begins rather timidly, or with a passage that isn’t exactly sonically pleasing, what’s the harm in a song just swelling its way to something a bit more entertaining? Coincidentally, No Becoming
answers this very question with “there’s no harm in that,” also known as “Paradise Life.” This song very smoothly layers already smooth-sounding sounds, and with occasional slight increases in volume, makes a truly entertaining piece of ambient music.
The next track, though, “Fantasy Hair,” is definitely the low point of the album’s density, and probably the low point of the whole album, too. It blends together clanging cymbals, a noisy guitar pattern, and very abrasive vocal samples with an unnerving lack of grace. More clutter is added to it by other strange background noises, an aspect of the album that affects other songs in a good way, examples being the police sirens in “Laced,” or the 8-bit-video-game-esque lazer noises in “Born Mistake.”
It seems like only a few songs on No Becoming
truly know what they’re setting out to do and succeed though, the most notable ones being “Paradise Life” and “Emotive Cloak.” They’re the songs that swirl ‘round and ‘round in a place that actually sounds good; “Paradise Life” with its windy synths and guitar feedback, and “Emotive Cloak” with its pretty, and as the title suggests, emotive synth rhythms and a certain shaken percussion instrument in the background. Other songs on the album just seem to swirl around in a world of ‘meh,’ making little to no effort to become something better than they are. Which is sad, because as some of No Becoming
implies, it’s very, very possible that they could.