Review Summary: Dark and immersible,"Black Swan (In 8 Movements)" is a fascinating journey, that for some, will be completely unforgettable.
It’s easy to appreciate an album that can take so many shapes, and mean so many different things to a wide variety of people, touching upon feelings and emotions across a wide spectrum. Case in point: Black Swan’s Black Swan (In 8 Movements)
. Black Swan
is so sprawling, so intrinsically vast and subdued, that the very essence of what it is becomes enigmatic, lost in a deluge of soundscaping, obfuscated amongst the converging atmospheres. And what is Black Swan
exactly" Is it artistic expression in its purest form, or is a pretentious attempt at achieving something falsely profound" Whatever it may be, the album's appeal lies in its lack of appeal, as daring listeners will find much to adore.
As stated previously, Black Swan
will be a different kind of album-a different experience
entirely-for every individual who listens to it. Do with it what you please, and the album will surely oblige. Whether it be needed for background music, concentration, or intent listening, the album can be utilized for so much, that its multi-faceted nature is the very reason worth indulging into the void that is the album’s core. On the surface of things, Black Swan
is nothing particularly arresting, trading rhythms and melody for pure unadulterated atmosphere. It’s a dense, dark, suffocating affair, filled to the brim with intensely layered moods and textures. While the separate aspects aren’t spectacularly complex, the album is held up by the strength of the multifariousness of its components.
The album is either an incredibly unsettling experience; a terrifying excursion into the murky hollowness that is Black Swan
, or a wonderful musical journey unlike any other. At first listen, the record may seem like a droning mess of ill thought out ambiance, completely convoluted and contrived. The initial reaction may even be one of disdain and boredom, however, subsequent listens reveal that Black Swan
requires quite a bit of time and patience to uncover all it has to offer.
The idea to separate the album into eight distinct movements was a great move, allowing for a more cohesive experience throughout. It’s staggeringly unappealing to those unfamiliar with this type of music, and the breaking down of the long form composition into segments was a bold choice, but it works superbly well. The movements are not entirely different from one another, especially during the album's midsection, but they offer up enough variety to make it largely interesting. The movements ebb and flow seamlessly, making Black Swan
feel much more organic, seemingly acting like a living, breathing organism.
isn’t expressly beautiful
, as there is not an abundance of melodies or harmonies per se. Practical instruments are almost exclusively replaced by electronics and sampling, with the product feeling much warmer than one would expect. It is far removed from the cold sterility of many of its contemporaries. The album could be described as something between ambient and drone, with emphasis on the atmosphere rather than on the song structure itself. Although there are eight distinct movements, the ambient atmosphere is prevalent throughout. However, it is the small details that make the album exceptional. The mesmerizing chorus featured on the seventh movement is a highlight, even though it is very subdued and low key. Other minuscule additions make the entire package feel fully fleshed out, as a lot of time and care when into its creation. The production is solid, as it allows for every minute to be completely absorbing. It’s frighteningly immiscible, with the dark, empty void utilizing its enveloping tones to entangle and suffocate, all while being completely entrancing and mesmerizing. This dichotomy is what makes the album so fascinating, so complex, and so immense. However, even with the stunning amount of excellence displayed on Black Swan
, the album is obscenely inaccessible. The droning tones and notes will fall on deaf ears, as many are not accustomed to the strange entity that this album is.
Yet despite the album being completely unwelcoming, Black Swan
will find its niche, discovering a home in the hearts and minds for those willing to explore its veiled complexities and subtle intricacies.