Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

c.db.sn - "Terrestrial"

Artist: c.db.sn
Album: Terrestrial
Year: 2014
Label: self-released
Genre: IDM, Ambient
Website: http://cdbsn.bandcamp.com

c.db.sn is one of my favorite IDM acts to come out in recent years, and you'll probably recognize the name from, you know, all of our compilations. Terrestrial is a collection of b-sides, remixes, and rarities from the last few years. So you get all of his appearances on compilations from labels including Hymen, Tympanik, Component, Crime League, Wounds of the Earth, etc; in addition to several remixes, alternate versions of tracks, and some unreleased material. Everything has been remastered for this release.

To be honest, most b-side/rarities collections are more for novelty than for actual enjoyment and repeated listening. They tend to feature some demos and other miscellany that you wouldn't normally give a crap about, yet in context it becomes sort of interesting (but still mostly sits on the shelf). Thankfully, Terrestrial does not follow that trend. It offers 21 tracks over 2 full hours,and just about every single one of them is a solid, fully composed piece. This collection goes to show that he puts one hundred percent into every track he does, whether it be an album track, a remix, or a comp appearance. I think c.db.sn is most known for masterful cuts of melodic, atmospheric IDM, and this style is duly represented on tracks like "4amcatataq", "Sun On My Face", "Snowday", a different cut of "Airport", his remix of Ghosts in the Clocktower, and my personal favorite, the incredibly Gridlock-esque "Furtherscape". Honestly, I could preface any of those tracks with terms like "the brilliant..." or "the exceptional...". He is more than capable when it comes to the classic 90s dreamy IDM sound with massive pads and evocative melodies. He has a penchant for mixes that are spacious, yet full of tiny glitchy fragments dwelling amongst the more prominent elements. Building from that, there are some cuts which showcase the more evolved, uniquely c.db.sn style where he mixes his IDM sound with floating vocals and post-rock influence. These include his remix of Brim Liski, "athousandmiles", and "of Tundras and Glaciers". Honestly, the post rock stuff isn't normally my thing, yet these tracks win me over. There are also a couple of purely ambient pieces, notably "Motionless, By Harvest's Moon Light We Lie", and "Lost Transmission".  The exceptions to the aforementioned list are "Waiting So Long" which appears to be his take on the Burial sound; "Calm Amidst Turbulent Seas" which is a 10 minute purely post-rock affair; "Pass You By" which returns to his roots in deep house; and "Ghost of a Piano" which is a 2 minute droning sound experiment. I've followed his career pretty closely, so I've already heard most of what is on this release, but I have to say that I am quite impressed with the songs that I have not previously heard. Tracks like "Waiting So Long" and "able~gen" are as impressive as anything that he has formally released. These feel like completely realized songs and not just half finished ideas thrown in to fill space. As per usual, the composition, mixing, and mastering is top notch. Out of the 21 tracks there are only 3 that I will probably never listen to again. That said, a large collection of non album tracks that I can just about listen to from beginning to end is quite an achievement and certainly speaks to the quality of his work.

A fantastic cluster of songs in all regards. A great way to fill out your collection of c.db.sn, or a good place to start if you'd like to get acquainted with the project. 21 songs, 120 minutes, and only $5 make this an incredible deal that you should not pass up. Since he does hop between genres, everyone probably won't like every single track presented, but if you are a fan of any of his past work than I would predict that you would enjoy at least 15+ tracks on here which is still a damn good deal. Get it.

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