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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Autoclav1.1 - "Love No Longer Lives Here"

Artist: Autoclav1.1
Album: Love No Longer Lives Here
Year: 2008
Label: Tympanik Audio
Genre: awesome, ambient, jazz, electronic
Website: http://autoclav.sentrymusic.com

Wow! I thought the last autoclav1.1 album was good. “Love No Longer Lives Here” steps up just about every element present on “Visitor Attractions”. If you listen to the two albums side by side they sound radically different, however if you listen to LNLLH after having heard VA at some point, you can easily draw the conclusion that this is an evolved Autoclav.

Packaging: 5/10
Well, it’s packaged in a fun digipak with some sad looking photos, but overall it’s kind of boring. Just a single-fold with the usual ‘thank yous’ and stuff. On the last album Tony wrote a little blurb about the album which was nice and made it a little more personal. No such luck here. Oh well, his new logo with the pentagram/ouroboros is cool although half of it’s cut off so I’m not exactly sure what it is in it’s entirety.

Composition: 9.5/10
So, what is better about this album? What isn’t better might be a more pertinent question. It sounds like Tony has improved his piano-playing and perhaps even the equipment he uses to produce piano sounds. The piano tones are much bolder and more realistic sounding this time around; he also includes several different piano sounds. At times I get confused and think that I am listening to some kind of ambient jazz. Being a huge fan of well placed piano, I can’t help but love the album for this aspect alone. In addition, Tony steps up the overall composition and production of the album. There are once again his signature drums and pads. The drums this time are less of a focus. They are more straightforward and serve as a tool to push the flow of music rather than garner the listener’s attention. They sound fantastic and mesh incredibly with the rest of sounds, but they are far less “idm” than previous endeavors. The pads this time are more subtle…well what I mean is that they are pushed to the back of the mix and what happens is that they produce this HUGE atmosphere which seemingly comes out of nowhere. One reason I loved “Visitor Attractions” is because of the overall emotional and atmospheric quality to it. I was quite pleased and surprised to find that LNLLH very much surpasses the atmospheres of VA. The textures are bolder, the sounds are richer and more lifelike…everything about this album is more organic and natural than just about any other electronic album I have heard. Every element sits together well and helps to strengthen the other elements without trying to fight for attention. The pads are happy to sit behind other things, the drums are happy to march on and the pianos are happy to be placed at the forefront and be a major focus. The entire album has film-score quality to and thus each track comes across as its own short film; tiny modules full of swirling beauty and sadness. There are so many images and emotions stuffed into this album…songs like “Trails Without Pathways” bring me back to so many lost autumn days, leaves falling amidst colored trees and fading streetlamps, whereas songs like “Tiny Matters” take me to the edges of a city recently visited by snow and frost where I am listening to the wind on the ocean and drinking a cup of coffee with an old lover. Where most industrial albums are cold in a sinister, cynical way, this album showcases cold in the most beautiful and organic sense. Like the beautiful forgotten moments when you played in the snow with a past lover. The album is contemplative…or maybe it makes the listener contemplative. What is it saying? Is it saying the past is beautiful? Sad? Terrible? Painful? Maybe. Anyway, what I am saying is that this album is fucking visionary.

Production: 10/10
Shit! This might be the best production I have ever heard. The production on the last Autoclav album was good, but this absolutely blows it away. The production is epic, grand, majestic, you name it. There is just this underlying richness to everything on this album which brings out microscopic textures that would be lost with a lesser quality of production. The production and mastering really helps to embolden this album and give it this immense spatial quality; it feels like watching a wide-screen film. That’s the best way I can describe it…the last album was like watching a small monitor but this is like watching a film in a theatre. The album is just…monumental.

Artistic Merit: 9.5/10
Most definitely. I have never heard any “industrial” or even “idm” artist who has gone even remotely in this direction. Tony Young has totally gone off the map with this (at least for industrial audiences) and it utterly works. What we have here is more of a collection of ambient jazz than industrial or idm or noise or whatever. It’s fucking great and he pulls it off spectacularly. For everyone like me who is constantly being dragged down by the poor quality and lack of creativity in this kind of music, this is a wave of bliss and hope.
It’s hard to say exactly what constitutes a “timeless” album, but I think this would meet whatever the criteria is. The listener can easily and enjoyably connect with this album on a deep visceral level and I don’t think that time will diminish that.

Flow: 10/10
Yeah, it’s great. It’s like watching a bunch of short films that are loosely connected and thus form the pieces of a quasi-cohesive global puzzle. Ok so maybe a better example is that it’s like watching a bunch of really beautiful aggrandized films of excerpts of your life, except that your life has been mixed with reverie and imagination and thus has an additional layer of splendor and fantasy that should normally not exist. Anyway the point is that a bunch of short films about your life are separate things, but they share a common thread which unites them all, and the fact that it’s your life causes it therefore have some extra significance which goes beyond the fact that it’s just a collection of images and feelings.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10
To be honest at first I didn’t like this album. But then I listened to it over…and over…and over…and over and it grew on me and got exponentially better with each listen. Now I’ve had it on loop for two or three days and I absolutely love it. For those who are open-minded about music and enjoy sounds that convey feelings and atmosphere then I cannot recommend this album enough. I know that this will be an album that I will get enjoyment out of for years to come.

-dan barrett

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