Saturday, February 25, 2012

REVIEW: Listening Mirror - Resting In Aspic

7.5 out of 10

In a recent interview, Listening Mirror spoke of the motive behind their stunning work: “We both wanted to make music which reflects an inner connection with the sounds all around us.” If you've listened to any of the other EPs released by this British duo over the past two years, this statement comes to no surprise. Each track of theirs – with the stretching and looping of everyday sounds against Ambient Electronics – is an intimate portrait of this inner connection to an outer world.

On 'Resting In Aspic', Listening Mirror collect the highlights from their past works and turn them into an aural dreamscape over an hour in length. It's obvious, though, that various sources make up this album, as slight tone shifts pull us back and forth, transporting us from one dream to the next. By no means do these shifts have a dizzying effect; rather, they amplify our engagement as we wait in anticipation to see what comes next. Take the transition from “The Leechpool” to “The Organist” for example. The first track throws us in the middle of a forest. Shallow waters run gently beneath our feet; invisible pianos surround us with hypnotic arias; birds of all species sing a harmonious chorus. The next track then brings us to the streets of some ancient city, where angelic voices and the mysterious chatter of pedestrians make this a place fantasies are made of. But even as these two songs portray very different environments, their mutual calm and appeal keep this shift from being off-putting. We just sit back, and merely lose ourselves in the beauty.

While the use of field recordings in music is nothing new, somehow Listening Mirror come off as one of the more fresh and innovative bands to hit my stereo in a while. Why, you wonder? What makes this band so different from, say my pile of Harold Budd records? Well, there's one aspect in particular that comes to mind: Listening Mirror's curious ability to levitate all their earthbound sounds into some heavenly dimension, sublime in all its forms. They remind us just how otherworldly this world can be, and that alone is reason enough to grant this album multiple listens.

Standout Tracks: The Leechpool, The Organist, Wet Roads

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