Damien Dubrovnik
Great Many Arrows


3.5
great

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
July 12th, 2017 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Two from the quiver.

There is a dignified candour with which Posh Isolation present themselves. The Denmark-based industrial label, despite an output that is often anything but middle-of-the-road, have a plain-faced way of marketing their brand. There is very little pretense, and the carryover to listener appreciation is that of a memorable fine dining experience where the food speaks for itself. We’ll stave off a cheesy long-winded food analogy, but, suffice it to say, Damien Dubrovnik, composed of the label’s two founders Loke Rahbek and Christian Stadsgaard, produce a sound rooted in real-world trials and tribulations, rather than intangible abstractions alone. Conceptually, Great Many Arrows was constructed as much at the hands of endless toiling as it was in the mind. Opener “Arrow 1”, namely, plays like a Roman pantomime with an aging male lead reciting the destruction of his kingdom. The vocals stab with a sense of helplessness in their near-indecipherability, like listening in on a panicked plea for help though a crackling CB radio. War drums resonate in such a way that blends with black arcus clouds, and melodic strings die with grace. Like other moments on the album, we see a blend of bygone-era acoustic instrumentation with modern-era electronics, stuck partway between different ends of a time portal. It all feels deeply retrospective, steeped in repressed memories that would prefer to be bottled up. Now uncorked, it is vague in details but heavy-handed in tones and and emotions that are emphasized without being embellished. It’s like piecing together your grandfather’s tales of war via the creases on his face.

Great Many Arrows is episodic, as illustrated by the plainly numbered song titles. It’s almost like an anthology without translation or established order, dug up, examined, and upon frustration numbered “1, 2, 3…” and bound. The songs could probably be listened to out of order and be enjoyed all the same. This is to be expected with much of what Loke Rahbek touches on Posh Isolation: songs connected very loosely, with miles and years between them, so that the shared context is threadbare. Trying to describe certain songs feels like a Rorschach test. As with label mate Puce Mary’s music, the songs unfold with ambiguity, yet are often highly dramatic in the confusion. “Arrow 4” is a great example; it feels like pacing around a cluttered room, disoriented and weighed down with thoughts of elsewhere. Another one: “Arrow 2” initially mimics wandering through a serene country side, but intermittently discovering horrific symbols of death and destruction. It’s a tad like a Benjamin Britten piece turned sour. Gradually, the wanderer descends into something hellish and soaked with lore, reminiscent of the early Diablo games. “Arrow 5”, possibly the most aching song present, sets a mood that is both lush and sterile. It’s like a corridor painted in various shades of white, yet somehow rendered more colourful by the light beaming through the windows. It’s what one could possibly expect in a Hayao Miyazaki movie centred around a children’s hospital. The woodwind refrain hovers over the song like the hand of a healer over the head of the demonically possessed; and when it’s finally lifted, it’s as though decades of torment are stripped away like cheap, weathered veneer to reveal something reborn. An interesting tone to set, considered this is a landmark release for the label (number 200).

The balance of barren neoclassicism and expanding industrial music can’t really be overstated, and is Great Many Arrows’ boon. It sees the music tethered to something, somewhere. Stadsgaard and Rahbek are yin and yang, contrary yet connected. They recurrently support each other upon either/or giving way to collapse, by way of emotional or physical fatigue. Great Many Arrows doesn’t really have conventional buildups, and it’s not always clear if anything gets resolved. It’s pernicious, and maybe that ties into the album’s source of inspiration. The Ōyakazu (“great many arrows”), an old Japanese archery event, involved participants shooting arrows continuously for 24 hours. The songs being titled numerically, with a total of six, suggests something with no resolution in sight, doomed to withstand thousands of strikes more. We’re reaching a bit here, and maybe that’s the extent of the analogical worth, but it’s something. In an interview with Ian Maleney (published by The Quietus), the duo explained, “We can never control how the receiver will interpret our work, and it is not in our interest either." Damien Dubrovnik don’t make things easy, despite offering total free reign in the worlds they weave.




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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 11th 2017


6127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

https://poshisolation.net/products/damien-dubrovnik-great-many-arrows-lp-preorder great danes

this stream should still be gud: https://www.thewire.co.uk/audio/tracks/stream-posh-isolation-s-twohundreth-release



haven't felt compelled to review in a while, but the words came for this. a bit forced maybe, but

nocuffin
July 11th 2017


390 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what I'd give for a great many arrows less

nocuffin
July 11th 2017


390 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good 2 c u writing again though

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 11th 2017


6127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thx, narrowly avoided the two-month slump by one day. not emeritused quite yet, old bean

Asdfp277
July 11th 2017


14301 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is good

superluminals
July 12th 2017


96 Comments


Nice

Going to listen

nocuffin
July 12th 2017


390 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I ain't lettin my boy jots get emeritussed ‼️‼️‼️

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2017


1825 Comments


I trust this is better than Vegas Fountain?

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2017


6127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i believe

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2017


15282 Comments


really interesting review johnny, glad to see one from ya (:
this looks cool but also a bit out of my comfort tastes

Digging: Pretend - Circular Rsoning

CompostCompote
July 12th 2017


541 Comments


Six does not a great many make.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
July 12th 2017


2496 Comments


good to see you back, Johnny..

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2017


6127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thx, hopefully this greases the axles a bit

TheBarber
July 12th 2017


3508 Comments


Great review (bestest hidden tbt review I've read in a while) and a nice case study / interpretation of Posh Isolation's broader philosophy. I've personally always loved the label's releases that hazily evoke the more unusual themes of masculinity (sometimes to an almost homoerotic level) inherented from older industrial music. I understand that this is in a way, from what you can piece from it, such a record?
In any case, kewl

Digging: Pretend - Circular Rsoning

hal1ax
July 12th 2017


7196 Comments


damn.. this a good review.
gonna chekk

hal1ax
July 12th 2017


7196 Comments


2nd p is a thing of beauty

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2017


6127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@barber - i didn't really get too much homoeroticism here, but it did evoke a sense of masculinity for sure (i felt compelled to use male pronouns to describe the 'protagonist') and maybe some related anxiety in terms of one's own masculinity (?). I'm not really sure.

Jasdevi087
July 12th 2017


4283 Comments


can almost always tell when this is gonna be a Johnny review just by the cover art

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2017


6127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can pretty much tell if I wanna review an album by the cover art, sometimes

nocuffin
July 12th 2017


390 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

review GOOP



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