Amatorski
From Clay To Figures


3.5
great

Review

by Olivier De Clercq CONTRIBUTOR (40 Reviews)
July 25th, 2014 | 13 replies


Release Date: 04/01/2014 | Tracklist


Although I've seen Amatorski plenty of times before, the show of theirs I saw earlier this week was special because it was the first time I saw them since the new album came out. Which, coincidentally, is the album you're reading about now: From Clay To Figures. Anyways, it made me realize something, namely that the new songs only really come into their own in a live setting. The impact of a full dynamic audio range instead of the somewhat compressed one employed on record cannot be understated. And it is a bigger issue for the material on From Clay To Figures, than for the tracks on 2011's magnificent TBC.

In the three years since TBC, the band members have grown accustomed to their role of performers. The shy and fragile nature of their previous work has been toned down in lieu for a more comfortable and richer sound most commonly described as "mature". However, silence still plays a big part in Amatorski's compositions. And this is where the mixing becomes problematic, because the difference in volume between silence and music is just too small. I've had this record since it came out in April and all that time, there was something bothering me about it. Only now I'm able to recognize it as the way the songs where mastered.

Because let's be clear: apart from the technical issues, this is an absolutely brilliant follow-up to one of my favorite records, period. The piano arrangements of Inne Eysermans really carry the songs this time, as does her voice which not only whispers but actually sings this time around. The trip-hop influences haven't vanished as is evident from the impressive percussion, courtesy of new drummer Laurens Van Bouwelen. The drums are never intrusive to the melancholy mood, but they do pack a punch where it counts and effortlessly elevate the songs to higher levels. Electronic flourishes keep things interesting throughout and are wisely kept as finishing touches and not as the focal point - other modern post-rock bands should take note.

Highlights are aplenty, with first single 'Hudson' and the brooding 'Warszawa' leading the pack. Both songs exemplify the evolution the band has undergone in three years. There's no hesitation anymore, but a clear vision in which direction the band is headed nowadays. It gives the tracks and the album as a whole a sense of momentum - which is a notion I'd not really associated with Amatorski before, but it is a most welcome change. I don't really know if I can fully recommend From Clay To Figures still, because of the issues I have with the technicalities mentioned above. However, from a songwriting perspective, this is absolutely world class. Yet again.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
3
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2014


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Average rating saddens me.

I tried something different this time around, let me know if it's any good (or bad).

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2014


7122 Comments


Different how? : /

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2014


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Talking more from a personal perspective. Guess it wasn't all that clear, lol.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2014


7122 Comments


I won't lie, I haven't caught too many of your other reviews. This looks like free thought to free thought to the free and clear. Good work and don't over think these things,

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2014


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, cheers man.

Typhoner
July 25th 2014


893 Comments


Nice work

Actually, I only listened to this once. It really seemed to drag + TBC managed to hit me really hard from the first listen, which make it really easy to be disappointed by this.

Digging: ENA - Binaural

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
July 25th 2014


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll admit the first few listens dragged with me as well, but it becomes better over time. I agree this new album isn't as good as TBC - then again, few albums are - but it's still a pretty fantastic follow-up. Do check them out live, if you get the chance.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 27th 2014


31493 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Boo hiss

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
July 27th 2014


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Boo to you too!

Typhoner
September 23rd 2014


893 Comments


so I will finally see them live. let's see what it gives

Typhoner
October 26th 2014


893 Comments


Hearing them play a few tracks off TBC next to the new ones reinforced the idea that the new songs kinda lack forward momentum. Amatorski is a great live band, though.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 26th 2014


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eh, to each their own I guess. :]

Where did you go see them?

Typhoner
October 27th 2014


893 Comments


AB. They were scheduled to play in the box, but couldn't fill it and ended up in the club.

Was glad I went, though.



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