Review Summary: Walking in the footsteps of giants.
I can’t express to you just how exciting it is to be following our generation’s cultural revolution in music. It’s almost untrue how quickly it happened; but just like water building in pressure behind a valve, once one drop escaped the seal an entire torrent followed it. This is dubstep; the future sound of London; music for the swarms who are lost in the urban jungle and concrete trees. The branches: apartments left decrepit with neglect. The roots: clubs that come and go in the blink of an eye. This music is the lifeblood spurning up from the roots to connect all those souls who can’t help but feel alone in the largest metropolises to lay claim to the earth beneath them. Scalewise, Desolate is but a drop. In that one drop, however, there lies one very important truth: that this particular breed of urbanised music is beginning to be shared with genres far more established. Thus solidifying its claim to revolutionising what we want from music, and insuring its influence for years to come.
And in Weissman there is no man more suited for supervising this change. Having matured slightly since his debut LP under the Desolate moniker, Celestial Light Beings sees him incorporate a much wider range of orchestral and ambient influences into his previously quite conservative sound. No longer simply content with replicating more household names (Burial being the biggest), this young fledgling has at last left the safety of the nest created by his contemporaries and begun to make the genre his own; no doubt that this is partially due to being gracefully labelled “Burial 2011” by journalists who should probably know better. As a result, the evolution of Desolate’s sound is one that Weissman has accelerated: the contrast between Desolate’s two LPs being far greater than one would expect for a man still so obviously eager to experiment with the genre. For starters, he may have inadvertently followed Burial’s descent into much more bittersweet, darkened material. The range between dark, minimalist percussion peppered with select field samples and fully fleshed out, dramatic orchestral movements has been extended hugely; in dynamics at least. With a broad movement from one end of the spectrum to the other, the opener “Ambrosia” embodies the former and most of what follows exhibit various stages of matrimony between the two polar opposites.
The overall effect is that familiar mix of cold, distant percussion and considerable more vibrant string and vocal tracks, though surprisingly an unfamiliar personality shines through here. While being a man obsessed with giving every part of a track its own space, so embodying many of the values of minimalism, Weissman rarely shies away from indulging in a little bit of artistic flair. Fans of his previous LP will note that the beat-less, mournful “Farewell’s” make a reappearance in Celestial Light Beings, which, although being quite isolated in the first attempt, sink in to the tone of the album much more effectively this time. Their soporific, sorrowful mood often overlapping into the tracks surrounding them. It’s the pattern of the album to switch between downtrodden and more outspokenly emotional, with “Farewell #3” and #4 acting as nodes for the remainder of the album to fluctuate from, and it isn’t until the final track that this cycle is broken. Compared to the rest of the album, “Exclusion of Light” is free: unshackled as it is by the restraints of modesty and coyness it soars to levels of emotional indulgence unheard of by the tracks preceding it. With an astronomical tone to fit, this final flourish of electronic wizardry is just an ever so subtle hint that Weissman is capable of so much more. A fervent glimpse into the future of Desolate.
Despite being as consistently brilliant as it is, there are certainly tracks that stand out in Celestial Light Beings. Whilst being somewhat unimaginatively titled, “Se7en” is morosely understated, with only a handful of strings to bridge the silence between drum loops. The shortage of vocal samples is noticeable - Weissman’s often fond of interchanging heavily distorted, high-pitch vocals with more angelic hums - but they don’t seem to be needed so much. In their place a gentle, yet piercing, violin descends over sombre cello notes. Simple and haunting, though nevertheless a masterstroke, this very subtle and still powerful experimentation is what ascends Desolate above the majority of his peers. “Desolation” demonstrates Weissman’s breadth by doing the opposite and featuring little but drums, piano and vocals. The discrete tone is still present, however; this is emotional music but it doesn’t welcome so easily. Most of all, it’s the perfect handling of the quiet things which makes “Desolation” so powerful and, over time, so beautiful. The incredibly faint bass; the constant changes of pitch in the static... in many ways, it’s almost apologetic. A conflicting sentiment for an artist with such an internal nature. In the end. it’s this introversion that gives Celestial Light Beings most of its force, and what places Desolate so firmly amongst the handful of great artists in a movement barely beyond its infancy. Experimental with the gentle hand of someone who knows that what they’re dealing with is infinitely precious; ready to be distilled into great mass of musical history.
It’s almost untrue how quickly it happened; but just like water building in pressure behind a valve, once one drop escaped the seal an entire torrent followed it. This is the future sound of London, music for the swarms who are lost in the urban jungle and concrete trees.
Lol, are you being paid to advertise?
In that one drop, however, there lies one very important truth: that this particular breed of urbanised music is beginning to be shared with genres far more established.
What particular brand of music? You haven't described anything by this point
Thus solidifying its claim to revolutionising what we want from music,
Uh, what claim? No artist working in any genre would attempt such a self-aggrandizing claim such as that
And in Weissman there is no man more suited for introducing this change.
According to your first paragraph this change has already taken place or is at least already happening, so how could he be introducing it now?
into his previously quite conservative sound.
Again, what sound? You still haven't mentioned it
no doubt that this is partially due to being gracefully labelled “Burial 2011” by journalists who should probably know better.
From a production point of view he sounds exactly like Burial
the contrast between Desolate’s two LPs being far greater than one would expect for a man still so obviously eager to experiment with the genre.
Again, what genre? This isn't Aphex Twin, meaning he's practically unheard of on Sputnik. Give them something to relate to
The range between minimalist dubstep percussion
What is dubstep percussion?
This ain't no MJ Cole
Also, none of this is either dubstep or garage based
The review is very well written in parts and you make some interesting statements; certainly you piqued my curiosity. But you should moderate the use of adjectives, at some point it looks like you are trying too hard to get your point across, and it makes the reading a bit *heavy* and distracting.
I cannot comment on the music and overall statements themselves, but review is worth a pos.
On the "what the fuck brand of music are you talking about" front: I guess I was stuck at really not wanting to do a Desolate vs. Burial review (which everyone else on the whole fucking internet has done), so without that easily identifiable anchor I slipped. I ended up mentioning him a lot anyway... bleh, messy. I'll fix it up after I make myself some dinner.
@garage vocals: been getting into garage lately, it just reminded me of it.
@dubstep percussion: bad way of getting out of "Burial-sounding" percussion.
@Zettel. Thanks, man. Still trying to find that medium point and still not quite getting there :P
Dudes last album was in my top 15 last year, really loved it. Haven't listened to this yet, but that's because I recently bought it on Vinyl and CD, so want to wait till it gets here. I'm sure it will be great!
To the extent that it's urbanised, slow-progressing music, I think it's a fair enough statement. You could view Dead Cities as a bit of a premonition to that extent - it's not a strong link, sure, but if you name yourself something like The Future Sound of London then I'm going to try and make something of that.
A) In the same way that indie-rock has been around for ages but I wouldn't go linking The National with Pavement.
B) Realise that, being such a tongue-in-cheek statement to begin with, it was meant to imply that this movement - as in now - could be strongly linked to the 90's vision of the entire population listening to incredibly urbanised ambient. For me this is a bit of a recurrence, although of course it's being approached from a vastly different angle. Even then, it's a throwaway claim; the kind of thing you expect from a cheap pun on a well known artist, no?