Wordclock
Heralds


3.8
excellent

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
December 14th, 2017 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dark ambient for a late night walk around the city...

I discovered Wordclock through his collaboration with Robin Finck on the NOCT soundtrack a couple of years ago. The resulting LP was a strong mix of ambient and noise that melded brooding synths with eerie, effects-soaked guitars. I quickly looked him up and found another great album, Self Destruction Themes. The nostalgic, often somber atmosphere created by both quiet and soaring moments was enthralling. The Portuguese composer really knows how to build up tension. Luckily, out of the blue, news appeared regarding a 3rd solo record that would come out before the end of the year.

This leads us to Heralds, crafted after a long journey through Porto, London and Berlin, where Wordclock recorded acoustic instruments as well as field recordings to further manipulate in the studio. Overall, there are several influences molding the LP: besides its ambient nature, there are light jazz and lounge intrusions interspersed throughout. The three part suite, ‘Bell Ringing’ offers a satisfying yet unsettling close-up to what the man wanted to create as a whole. There is a moody trumpet playing along the rather broken rhythms of ‘Bell Ringing III’, however, all the samples and lone piano leads set a bizarrely relaxing tone. Meanwhile, the wavy pads of ‘Bell Ringing II’ bring forth an ethereal contrast to this counterpart, where you can lose yourself in the soothing vibes. Moreover, ‘Bell Ringing I’ shares a "limp" beat, overtaken halfway by cellos and bleak bass synths. It reminisces some of Ulver’s minimalistic-meets-classical approaches on Messe I.X-VI.X or even Shadows of the Sun.

Further on, this rather brief journey (for an ambient record) leads us into mournful ditties such as ‘Beatrice’s Euphoria’ or ‘St. George’. The haunting voices manipulated behind the droning notes are uncanny, especially when accompanied by violins. Everything sounds like a eulogy set to a bleak soundtrack. I find the fading latter half more powerful, because it creates a visceral setting (perfect for the abstract scenes in Twin Peaks IMO) as if time stopped and you're blank staring at the walls. ‘St. George’ starts in a similar way to previous cuts, having violins and cellos engage in a discordant, classical-inspired theme, still you’re quickly left hearing their wails instead of harmonious melodies. They punctuate from time to time later on, nevertheless the background keyboards join in like someone started playing them in the adjacent room. I can easily imagine this song present on the Bioshock OST. From here, Heralds splinters into short tunes acting like a prolonged coda. ‘Where Mercy Lives’ relies on a slightly dissonant trumpet and an icy beat, whereas the distorted sound scapes give way to the lush piano chords of ‘Thames Does Flow’.

The title track closes this dark trip with a sparse, lounge-like bass alongside high pitched keys and thrilling samples. It’s like you’re stranded in a story whose finale is expectedly sad. The cinematic value of Heralds is impressing, especially if you are a fan of dramas or psychological thrillers (in this case with an urban touch) and the music accompanying them. I must admit I wasn’t sure this shift from the mainly electronic predecessor, still the blend of acoustic and digital is really compelling. Luckily, after a couple of listens I was totally drawn into this adventure and I am looking forward to hearing what Wordclock will release next.




Recent reviews by this author
The Ocean Phanerozoic I: PalaeozoicRotor (GER) Sechs
Thomas Dybdahl All These ThingsWang Wen Invisible City
The Re-Stoned Stories of the Astral LizardConan Existential Void Guardian
user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
December 14th 2017


4637 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Really cool dark ambient record (Cryo Chamber is a goldmine for those unaccustomed).



Stream it here - http://cryochamber.bandcamp.com/album/heralds



'Bell Ringing I' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LPLxhljBwY

'Bell Ringing II' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kliWhtWDpTk

'Bell Ringing III' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4p3nX_f1xs

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

BlackwaterPork
December 14th 2017


4324 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sounds interesting, imma give it a whirl

Nice review

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

TheBarber
December 14th 2017


3742 Comments


I dig the heaviness of motion in this record. Sounds beautiful as a whole listen

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

zaruyache
December 14th 2017


19851 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

*crashes through the wall*



DID SOMEBODY SAY AMBIENT?

Digging: Grotesque - The Black Gate is Closed

zaruyache
December 14th 2017


19851 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

(yeah i dig this thx)

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2017


4637 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Thanks! If you haven't, check out Wordclock's record with Robin Finck - the NOCT OST. It's really cool

deezer666
December 15th 2017


3743 Comments


Cryo Chamber,Oh how I love thee

neekafat
December 15th 2017


12996 Comments


Album cover looks like something Unique would get off to

Papa Universe
December 15th 2017


18102 Comments


neekafat, why have you summoned me?

Digging: Selvans - Faunalia

Papa Universe
December 15th 2017


18102 Comments


btw, neat cover

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2017


8018 Comments


Jamming this right now (way past midnight), and it's really cool.

Digging: Suffering Quota - Life In Disgust

BlackMalachite
December 15th 2017


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The string tone on this is absolutely gorgeous, but overall this is a pretty inconsistent release. Still great though. Cool review!

BlackwaterPork
December 16th 2017


4324 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This rules

BallsToTheWall
December 18th 2017


48994 Comments


I'm sold.

Digging: Protector - Golem

sixdegrees
December 18th 2017


4168 Comments


"string tone" yea okay, that tells me this is the kind of dark ambient to avoid

Hawks
December 18th 2017


62436 Comments


Gotta listen to this, last album was great.

Digging: Senses Fail - Life Is Not a Waiting Room

Josh D.
December 20th 2017


14108 Comments


I enjoy this very much.

Confessed2005
December 20th 2017


4513 Comments


This sounds interesting. Will have to give it a listen at some stage.

zaruyache
December 20th 2017


19851 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"kind of dark ambient to avoid"



barely dark ambient. More like ambient dark jazz.

Maniac!
December 26th 2017


28046 Comments


sounds delicious



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy