Carbon Based Lifeforms
Refuge


3.5
great

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
January 3rd, 2014 | 9 replies | 3,677 views


Release Date: 12/31/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Finding refuge in music.

Carbon Based Lifeforms' music has always possessed cinematic aspects whether coming from a single tune or an entire album. Their expansive, beat driven tracks that usually segue from one to another, create gorgeous, hour-long journeys that differ with each release. After performing live at the Swedish Museum Of Natural History's planetarium back in 2009, accompanied by custom projected visuals, it was only a matter of time until the duo would take on a bigger project, for example, a movie soundtrack.

Joining forces with director Andrew Robertson for Refuge, released last spring, CBL have stepped out of their usual comfort zone to craft a slightly different effort that suits the movie's tensed atmosphere and plot (a family seeking an elusive mansion as refuge while struggling to survive in the wake of a catastrophic event). As a result, each of the tracks featured here evokes mixed feelings, yet overall, they take shape mostly in ambient-meets-post rock way, more reminiscent of Hammock's latest output. Subtly divided in 2 parts, it all starts with the lovely 'RCA(+)', which gradually grows from a single, airy soundscape to a beautiful, rich tune. Also, 'Birdie' and 'Leaves' are both soothing cuts, with their loose beats and lush synths. Still, they have nostalgic undertones that are punctuated by sparse, icy piano leads.

Then, a darker shade is first portrayed through 'RCA(-)', the sinister counterpart to the album opener, and subsequently, it further develops on the noisy 'Lost' or the stark closer, 'Marauders', a tune that echoes the band's droning affair, Twentythree. The biggest surprise, however, is the techno-influenced, 'Escape', taking Carbon Based Lifeforms at their closest to club music so far. They have previously flirted with it, but always in a faint, chill-out way. Nevertheless, the song is highly enjoyable amid all the downtempo cuts, plus, it opens a new musical path for them to possibly follow on future releases.

Even though it is a bit short and less entertaining than some of the more fleshed out predecessors (mainly Interloper or World Of Sleepers), Refuge can be seen as one of the most accessible and dynamic CBL records yet. Clocking in at only 42 minutes, the 7 tracks gently slide one through another, each with its own mood. Still, the result is a lot more entertaining than the monotone VLA or the rather tepid, aforementioned Twentythree and one can only get excited for further experiments from the band.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2014



3321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Happy for this to finally see the light of day. Nothing tops Interloper, but it's a great listen.

Enjoy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORtUbZTLBI8

Digging: Karma To Burn - Arch Stanton

Acanthus
January 4th 2014



9535 Comments


Sounds cool, can always use more by these guys, haven't heard of the film before either.

Digging: Die Sektor - Applied Structure In A Void

Acanthus
January 4th 2014



9535 Comments


"Lost" is the highlight so far, the earlier tracks were ok but this is almost too ambient-y and mellow for its own good.

Edit: "Escape" and the ending track are fun too.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2014



3321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Escape is the most interesting and fun track, but the others are good too. I missed this side of CBL, as VLA and Twentythree were too minimal and droning. It is true that this is more ambient and straightforward than usual, but as a Hammock fan, I find them cool.

Keyblade
January 5th 2014



14149 Comments


Love these guys, gotta check

Digging: Paraxism - .Xism Excursion

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2014



3321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The record is available now on Bandcamp too

Stream - https://carbonbasedlifeforms.bandcamp.com/album/refuge-original-motion-picture-soundtrack

Acanthus
January 7th 2014



9535 Comments


Awesome, always nice to see more people getting on Bandcamp.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2014



3321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great place to discover new music. However, the app seems to be crap.

Acanthus
January 7th 2014



9535 Comments


Got ride of my smartphone so I've only seen the webpage version, hope they get things straightened out on the mobile side soon if it's that bad.



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