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CD Feature/ Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words: "[A Line: Align]"

img  Tobias
The world is obviously a wondrous place to Thomas Ekelund. Let’s forget for a moment that this man has been an active part of the Swedish experimental scene for years, that he has released under various pseudonyms and noms de plume, become part of the roster of the respected “Ideal” label and was only recently asked to stand in for Stephen O’Malley at the “24 Hour Drone People” spectacular. Instead, try to merely take “A Line: Align” as a starting point into his oeuvre. Would you ever expect such a haunting visitation after reading that the album is the result of strolls through his hometown of Gothenburg?

Framed by two long trips through Keiller’s Park (one from Summer of 2006 and the latter as recently as Fall 2007), this record freezes physical time and follows Ekelund’s thoughts, as they meander associatively in the river beds of his brain. The opening Summer-track is a tripart 21-minute composition, which fluently moves from very quiet, completely concrete microtonal field recordings and silvery textures to a discreet and spookey drone piece, before culminating in an opaque slab of fragile industrial rhythms which sound as though Thomas had forgotten his taperecorder at some ominous pressing plant.

Things were equally intense in Fall. Ekelund allows things to drift on their own accord for minutes, contrasting an eery dronewind with unidentifiable, fine sounds (like someone playing with pebbles in the gravel), before humming his audience to sleep with a lullaby performed on gigantic singing bowls. Only in the rumbling and roaring dronescape of “Allt Jag Rör Vid Faller Sönder”, which amasses density and grows to majestic proportions, that things get more tangible. But even here, the last minutes are spent with observations of the surroundings, of traffic in the distance, a mysterious semblance in the air and soft noises of what could be someone turning a dial plate on an old black telephone.

On the outside, these three tracks are astoundingly crafted aural sculptures carved from the solid rock of time and imagination. Ekelund weighs the components of his compositions equally, refusing to prefer drones above field recordings or floating stasis above rhythm, and this atmospheric egalitarianism makes his music simultaneously frightening, unreal and weightlessly open. As daydreamy as they may sometimes appear, their arrangements have been pressed into a precisely measured corset which adheres to clear criteria of form and development.

On the inside, however, “A Line: Align” is the product of a charmingly naive and playful train of thoughts: What would happen, if that machine kept cranking out that noise in a loop? How about banging on a glockenspiel to accompany the rising storm? Could the wind howl in a minor key? What would those ants sound like if magnified a thousand times? Nature and man-made environments are the basis for these mindgames, which turn into surreal symphonies at the hand of Ekelund’s clever collage technique.

“Erase yourself, fade a little bit, tune in - and side murmurs will show unexpected tones”, the press release states, unveiling the secrets of this release just a little bit. “A Line: Align” is about becoming one with your environment and about the world becoming music in an act of mutual sonic rapprochement. It is an album which inspires one to go out into the park to search for these moments oneself. It is also conveys the message that creativity is not the exclusive domain of artists: The world can be a wondrous place to anyone, if you listen close enough.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words
Homepage: Mystery Sea Records

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