Dying Machines: What I Have Not Forgotten
Mush Records

New Orleans multi-instrumentalist Thomas Buschbach has a particularly interesting way of generating the neo-classical-electronic music he issues under the Dying Machines name. Employing a strict ‘no synthesizers' rule, Buschbach uses guitar to produce blurry washes of ambient design, which are then merged with piano as well as orchestral elements (usually viola and cello) played by real musicians for the final mix. What results on What I Have Not Forgotten, the follow-up EP to Dying Machines' debut, Nicht Spreche, are transporting, five-minute epics that play like heady fusions of Arvo Part and Stars Of The Lid.

Reminiscent of the kind of music the prototypical Hibernate artists excels at producing, “So We Lived” opens in a foggy ambient blur before morphing into a more strings-heavy dynamo that swells incrementally to a massive size. As huge as its eventual sound is, it's dwarfed by the immensity of the strings-and-guitar washes in the penultimate piece, “It Has Been.” Sparse sprinklings of reverb-heavy piano introduce “Prisoner's Cinema” until an all-encompassing strings-based drone appears to nudge the material in the direction of Stars Of The Lid. In like manner, “None of That Matters Now” opens with the spotlight on a lone cello before a sweeping orchestral expansion emerges that's so dense the cello is almost rendered inaudible. One of What I Have Not Forgotten's more memorable aspects has to do with the contrast Buschbach creates between a single instrument's sound, be it piano or cello, and the towering washes that otherwise dominate, and the EP makes a strong impression on the listener, despite being a modest twenty-seven minutes in length.

June 2013