Luminous: Links

Links, Tim Chaplin's first official Luminous album (the digital collections Eve Was Weak and Again Again preceded it), consists of two half-hour instrumentals. Chaplin records as a singer/songwriter under his own name but that output is presumably worlds apart from Links' dark ambient style. Length alone suggests that the pieces could be classified as drones but they're more like broiling cauldrons that intensify in volume and density with the passage of time. The first piece oozes forth rather gloomily in a machine-like, industrial broil that grows almost imperceptibly. The intensity level escalates at the twenty-minute mark, however, when the material turns hazier, accompanied by a quietly pitter-pattering pattern that lends stability to its woozily churning loops. The piece turns nightmarish in its closing minutes when that wooziness builds into a wailing scream that's almost painful. Track two likewise begins harmlessly with sonar blips and gaseous emissions and remains at a low-level simmer for its first half. Naturally, it too slowly gathers steam, becoming convulsive and assuming a grimy scowl in the process until ripples of interference and static threaten to derail the piece's crawl in the final minutes.

February 2008