Bramble: Emergence
Bottle Imp

Life Toward Twilight: I Swear By All The Flowers
Bottle Imp

Bramble, an unnamed producer from Toledo, Ohio, generated Emergence's phantom drones by manipulating the voices of Scott Wehman and Morgan Stanton using Audiomulch and .wav editing. Predictably, as a result the voices are largely unrecognizable as such and what we hear instead are forty minutes of ghostly reverberations and murmuring rumble echoing across barren, windswept terrain. The effect is far from unpleasant and is, in fact, so calming it induces a state of restfulness in the listener. Even so, a subtly gloomy and foreboding aura shadows the material, and one is more disposed to picture the drones endlessly drifting through the claustrophobic corridors of a decaying mansion rather than gliding through the sunlit countryside. Though Bramble alternates three short pieces with three longer ones, they're all of a stylistic piece, and time especially slows to a crawl during “Apocrypha” when its whispering tones stretch out for a full thirteen minutes.

Imagine inheriting the estate of an elderly uncle and, after inspecting the dust-covered contents of its main rooms, venturing into the attic to discover a scratched and decades-old vinyl recording containing pieces produced from piano, music box, grandfather clocks, steam trains, and other antique sounds. That, in a nutshell, is one way of describing the sound of I Swear By All The Flowers by Life Toward Twilight (Detroit-based Daniel Tuttle). Drenched in vinyl static, its ten pieces perpetuate the ghostly theme of Bramble's recording but the stylistic concept is completely different. Music boxes and out-of-tune pianos occupy the material's musical center but they often struggle to be heard when surrounded by dense masses of rippling surface noise, steam engine trains, and industrial clatter. Despite the blanket of surface static and hydraulic noises that threaten to overwhelm them, the ghostly female voices eerily calling forth from the center of “Your Eyes Have Their Silence” remain audible, at least during the piece's opening minutes, while a lone ululating voice intones a final lullaby during “We Sing as the World Dissolves.” Tuttle characterizes his Life Toward Twilight material as “dark ambient” but, based on I Swear By All The Flowers at least, it would be more accurate to label his pieces “cinematic collages.”

September 2008