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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Displacer & Nimon - "House of the Dying Sun"

Artist: Displacer & Nimon
Album: House of the Dying Sun
Year: 2014
Label: Hymen
Genre: Ambient, IDM, Drone
Website:  www.hymen-records.com

Ant Zen seems to be focused on releasing collaborative records recently. I feel that collaborations should happen more often, so I am excited by this trend. This one comes from veteran artists Displacer and Nimon aka Keef Baker. To be honest with you, I totally skipped the debut Nimon album because it was just a dude strumming a guitar and letting it ring, and that is not my thing at all. I was hoping the addition of Displacer would spice things up & deliver more filled out songs, and it seems to have indeed.

The album opens with "Ghost Dance" which is how I feel like the Nimon album should have sounded: pleasant, sweeping melodic droning soundscapes with layers of evolving & modulating synth sweeps and flutters. It's complex while retaining a deep, tranquil vibe. The type of thing that rapidly hypnotizes and sucks you into it's realm. Excellent track and one of my favorites on the album. The second track "Stone Eye" mixes in the typical Displacer groove-laden quasi-IDM vibe with the aforementioned style. Most of the album is similar to this track and feels like a very solid & cohesive mixture of the Displacer and Keef Baker styles. Exquisitely sad, dreamy, hazy and often ripe for head-nodding. While the beats are driving and tactfully implemented, the real focus is on the highly emotive moods and atmospheres conjured by the synth work. There aren't any big melodies, but instead various layers of subtle fragmentary synth bits and drones that shift and mutate over each track's evolution. These tracks carry a very strong organic vibe, not unlike Keef Baker's own work. It's not until "Intihuatana" that we are presented with some of the guitar-strumming shoegaze/post rock flavor of Nimon. But even this, in my opinion, is much enhanced from his debut. Instead of just the guitar there are now a plethora of other atmospheric elements which fill out the song and create a massive atmosphere, like laying in the middle of a damp field under an overcast sky and light rain. The album ends, fittingly, with the dreamy retro-future beat-less piece "Eastern Sky".

As fantastic and expert of a work as one would expect from these two. This album exemplifies the act of collaboration: both artists' sounds are suitably represented and I feel that things which were lacking in their individual releases have been notably enhanced and fleshed out here. I also enjoyed how the album was split up by beat-less tracks. It seems there has been a trend of artists/listeners moving from IDM into more post-rock/shoegaze/whatever territory and as such, this release will absolutely appeal to said listeners; and likely a much wider audience than simply IDM (though it will certainly appeal to those people too). If you are a fan of either of their work or simply emotional electronic music than you must hear this, you will not be disappointed!

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