subtractiveLAD: Suture

Vancouverite Stephen Hummel considerably toughens up his subtractiveLAD sound on Suture, the follow-up to 2005's Giving Up the Ghost. While the earlier album suggested kinship with City Centre Office's Arovane, the new one's heavier ambiance aligns him closely to Spezialmaterial's Solarium, HP Stonji, and Traject—not a bad thing, by any stretch. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is Hummel's attention to pacing as the new album, like the first, offers a travelogue in lieu of haphazard sequence, with the disc establishing a methodically delineated narrative arc over its seventy minute duration. The encapsulating opener “Petals” pairs grandiose strings with writhing machine noise before menacing cuts like “Brokadocious” and “Twinge” deepen the intensity with colossal beats and blazing synth motifs. Initially alternating between gentler settings and throbbing epics, the disc eventually enters an introspective zone of supple orchestral ambiance (“Soft Inside,” “Rerum Natura”) until the blistering meltdown “Sleepwalker” arrives like your worst nightmare. Don't be alarmed, however, as the album subsequently ends with the peaceful outro “Embryonic Again.” Though it closes on a note of placidity, it's Suture's epic dimension that signifies the most dramatic development in Hummel's subtractiveLAD style.

February 2006