Vessel – Order of Noise

Doing this album justice is hard. It’s a great album. 

The opener ‘Vizar’ begins with airy, ambient sounds with melodious bass notes. There are some interesting sounds on here already, intricately textured synths and a lovely vocal feature that enters and drops from the steadily de-shrouding track which ends little pre-maturely, but it doesn’t matter too much because of what it is followed by. ‘Stillborn Dub’, despite the name is a slick track with atmospheric, dark notes that get drawn out throughout the track. This album, throughout, is beautifully produced and composed, nothing is rushed on here. This is a stunning track, the moody, echoing sounds are tied with these deep, hidden percussive hits that morph into muted bass notes and a distant snare crash. Pretentious as it is to say it, this track is graceful. The range of sleek, slick sounds and vocal samples will just draw you in under its spell.

‘Images of Bodies’ begins with a thick bass wobble and tape loop followed by a cold, brittle hi-hat alongside some opaque pitch bends and hollow bass runs. This synchs into one sexy house track. Every sound that features and gets dropped in on the top of this track is perfectly rendered fitting with the rest of the work. The bass work is stunning as an ever-present groove and shift. ‘Silten’ is a less subtle, the main beat is comprised of some bright sounding drum taps that build in complexity with subtle hand-claps. The melody on here is balanced nicely, it falls into the groove but is recognisable building on the dark, moody atmosphere, and there could even a xylophone in there with the waves of sound that push this track along.

‘Lache’ has a more abstract beat and the synth sits higher in the mix. The vocal samples used percussively make Vessel’s work on here genuinely interesting because he uses them as hooks. The scattering of carefully places industrial sounding notes – which sound similar to a thumb piano make this track as danceable as it is listenable. Based on what is in the track so far, this should be minimal but there is whole new progression halfway through. The thumb piano melody returns though and works on top of a more distinctive beat but then heavier synths take over, pushing the previous sounds to one side, then the first kick beat of the album appears. There is more structural movement in this track, more tension and a careful blending of sounds. Vessel works with a limited pallet, i.e. he uses the same materials to produce an underlying order to his work and it has come out very well on here.

‘Aries’ keeps the thud of a kick drum but heavily compressed under breezy, dreamy textures. The main feature is a dark, muffled but tonal bass line that works with a gentle shaker and light hi-hat hits. There are some samples of bamboo and sparkling synths that chime through the soundscape that Vessel creates.

‘2 Moon Dub’, blends industrial sounds with notes played on panpipes with a sound range that feels dated, but not in a bad way. The synth bass is taught and the sudden chords that get dropped in bring memories of synth sounds that could be heard in early boom-bap hip-hop records.  Where ‘2 Moon Dub’ was quite light on percussion it is defined by percussion on ‘Scarletta’ defines it largely with staccato drum pattern. The use of noisier textures help to develop a greater sense of space in this track, there are some glitchier moments on here also. But this develops into a larger drone comprised of what seem to be strings on close inspection but combined with chorus style vocals too. This track feels ancient and huge. The beat is tight though, John Carpenter would love this.

‘Plane Curves’ has been available to hear for a little while now but it’s great to hear it in its own context. There are some fairly sci-fi sounds in here, textured bass sounds that are gradually modulated and high synths that draw on the energy of the previous track. There are percussion features from metal, hollow and high toned drums too which open out into a distinctly industrial kick smash and tom beat. Some higher melodies arrive too, jazzier sounding and twinkling synths that have high over tones and counter-point. The metallic hits stay too until the end. This track has a very organic, ambient feel. This could go on so, briefly: ‘Temples’ is a return to the techno part of the album. Another distance snare hit pins down some splashing synths and noisier modulations that sit higher in the track. ‘The Court of Lions’ has a complex beat and is mainly comprised of percussive hits bar the occasional synth, but then a organ is thrown in. The last track ‘Villiaine’ ends with the same vocal features from the first track and similar subtle bass patterns but with addition cold synths. My only issue with the whole record is that there isn’t more of this final vocal feature because it’s so pretty.

 

It’s a great album, dark, experimental, balanced, danceable but easily listenable.

 

Order of Noise came out on September 24th on tri-angle records.

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