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Review: Mingle – Ephemeral (2017)

I found this album because it was recommended by Plaster (http://shop.kvitnu.com/album/mainframe) on Facebook, as it's composed by someone he knows. I feel pretty lucky about that; I'm not sure how I would have come across this otherwise!

Available from Kvitnu (http://shop.kvitnu.com/album/ephemeral), it's an interesting blend of "gentle" and "edgy". I don't use the word "edgy" lightly, as it has been overused in recent years. Just follow the link and give the first track, "Drop Yourself", a listen and you'll see what I mean. It's rather quiet, and nothing abrupt or jarring happens in it; yet many of the sounds themselves have a harsh edge to them. It builds intensity, but in a way I've not heard very often in other music. I'm having a hard time describing it... I'll just say that the resulting experience is greater than the sum of its parts. It's one of the times when on first listen the first track set me up with great expectations for the rest of the album, and I was not disappointed.

"Chimneys" is a long rising nearly featureless drone with an expectant sound with some layered percussive sounds layered on top of it. Oddly, it never resolves its promise of resolution.

The title track goes through a similar buildup as "Drop Yourself", but the mood is quite different and doesn't reach the same level of intensity. I find the sharpness of the snare-like sound of the later-arriving backbeat a great contrast with the rest of the sounds in the mix.

"Lost" juxtaposes a very warm undercurrent with a cold, glitchy surface. No beats surface in this one, and it ends on a pretty ominous note.

I could go on describing each track in detail, but you already have a good idea about how it would play out. Lots of interesting sounds and contrasts, but always with that slightly industrial edge to them.

The closing track is a collaboration with the aforementioned Plaster, and you can tell because it's got a heavier sound than the rest of the collection. It's a good closer, and finishes with a puzzling but interesting sudden shift in tone.

I highly recommend Ephemeral, and look forward to further releases from this artist.

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