Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
contact: woundsoftheearth@gmail.com

| news | reviews | interviews | recommendations | releases | articles | about |

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Scaffolding - "Narratives"

Artist: Scaffolding
Album: Narratives
Year: 2009
Label: Plastic Sound Supply
Genre: IDM, Ambient
Website: www.plasticsoundsupply.com
this album on discogs: here



Most recent full length album from Denver, CO based IDM producer Scaffolding. "Narratives" is a good mixture of the characteristics of 'old school' IDM and more modern stuff. It is one of the few modern albums that seems to fully embrace the ethic of experimenting and transmuting weird, shifting sounds and textures into listenable, flowing music. I say that this album is 'modern' because at first glance it has the feeling of a more subdued, minimal piece that is popular among his contemporaries. However, after a bit of listening it becomes readily apparent that "Narratives" has much more activity bustling about within it than a common IDM release.

Good stuff:
+ Style. I really dig Scaffolding's style which combines the complexity and experimental mindset of all the stuff that got me into IDM in the first place, while still giving it a very airy, spacious, almost minimal feel which makes it easy to listen to. He doesn't focus on a single, driving melody, but rather a whirlwind of small pieces of melody fragments spiraling continuously. Also present are lots of modulating bassy sounds & stabs and clicky, subdued beats with subtle glitching used to great effect. He manages to build up a unique style without sounding like he is rehashing the same ideas over and over. Despite not being very "ambient", Scaffolding does manage to create some good, tranquil atmospheres for these tracks.
+ Sound design. The sound design on this record is great. It's few and far between now where I will listen to an album and wonder "how did they make these sounds", but this is definitely an album where that thought comes to mind often. He is also able to use more basic/common sounds in fresh, exciting ways.
+ Diversity. Scaffolding keeps things flowing throughout the album and it never becomes monotonous or boring. There are a lot of different elements on this record, and the remixes and vocal tracks help to keep things fresh.
+ Production. Really clean sounding production. Very spacious mix and a good overall volume thats not squashed from excess limiting.

Bad stuff:
- Female vocals. I tend to really enjoy female vocals, but the ones on this album do not fit with the music whatsoever. They have a terrible, flat tone to them and they overdo the crooning to a point of ridiculousness. The music for these tracks is solid, and I wouldn't have minded them being instrumental.
- Other people's remixes. I enjoyed all of the Scaffolding tracks here, but the remixes by other people failed to grab me. The CacheFlowe remix is the best, turning 'Microbe' into a bass heavy dubstep-like affair, but in the end its not nearly as memorable as the original.

Scaffolding is a very underrated producer, and I hope that he can get his name and work out there, because he is extremely talented and has produced some fantastic work on "Narratives". Though by no means reinventing the wheel, this is still a highly worthwhile production that easily stands tall amidst a sea of mediocre, un-evolved, netlabel IDM. I would certianly encourage any fan of the genre to give Scaffolding a listen. I hope that on his next full length he forgoes the guest artists, because his work more than stands on its own.

Overall Rating:

No comments: