Review Summary: Picking up where they left off back in 2010...
After releasing the brilliant Interloper
, Carbon Based Lifeforms spent some years indulging in the droning side of their project, crafting the solid Twentythree
, as well as recording a soundtrack to the movie Refuge
. The latter saw them expanding the sound towards minimalist post rock and trance music a la Gas. These LPs were nice experiments, still none had the charm and catchiness of previous endeavors. A long wait preceded its release, however, Derelicts
gladly picks up where the Swedish duo left off back in 2010.
Right from the beginning, ‘Accede’ wraps us into its warm, airy, synth-heavy atmosphere that gently unfolds with each minute passing by. The steady beats accompany the melodic sequencers while the band subtly adds distortion to create an expansive tone. The title track further develops this vibe through a wall of ambient pads anchored to a deep, peaceful bass line. Spoken words are vaguely interspersed with the instrumental, thus creating a Journey to the Edge of the Universe
-like setting where you are aboard a space ship watching planets & stars color your view. ‘Clouds’, ‘Path of Least Resistance’ and ‘Nattväsen’ share breezy moments that reminisce Hammock’s output, yet they feel more comforting as if you were about to discover something beautiful. This is what I always loved about CBL, they have a soothing sound that evokes passion although the music is heavily processed.
After a rather long subdued middle stretch, Derelicts
is rejuvenated by cuts like ‘780 Days’, ‘~42’ or main highlight, ‘Dodecahedron’. The former acts as a transition from lush, dreamy moments to vivid, engaging ones. Starting with sparse bell-like leads and a background synth, we enter a lovely second half complete with drum patterns and multiple layers of keyboards playing in unison. The swaying rhythm is restful and paves the way for the ‘80s-tinged ‘~42’. This ditty is a tad darker, relying on an intense vibe created by low-pitched analog progressions over which glistening notes tag along. Moreover, ‘Dodecahedron’ feels like you’ve finally reach your destination. In my opinion, this is definitely the album’s climax as it delivers like no other song here. Each layer gradually adds to a really lush experience. The lead keys playing during the mid-segment are golden (reminding a bit of the ones present on other key CBL tracks such as ‘MOS 6581’ or ‘Interloper’). On the first listen, I was expecting for a magnificent tune like this one. You can easily appreciate it especially within the context and even as a standalone epic. Then, we’re slowly returning home with ‘Loss Aversion’ & ‘Everwave’. The fading energy smoothly puts the trip to an end, leaving us to descend into a 14-minute, loose albeit misty droning epic. The group successfully integrated some of their recent experiments into the grooves of the older material, making this LP an immersive affair.
is another strong album under the band’s belt, however, I feel it could have been even better. The two members should have insisted more on powerful tracks and less on ambient ones. I realize the atmosphere is everything, yet the album would have been more vibrant that way. Carbon Based Lifeforms sound best when they unfold to create punchier cuts. Of course, the contrasting numbers augment this feeling, however, there is slight lack of balance here. Nevertheless, this record is a must listen for any fan of the genre and can easily be enjoyed by those who are not accustomed to this type of music. I am really happy the guys are back with such good music and I hope we won’t wait another four years for something new.