Saturday, 11 May 2013

Above, Convenience Store! - Tūndâr / Arvedálki Beaivvada (Foundcloud #7: A Set Review)

This month's Foundcloud thing is - unlike the previous instalments - going to be a look at one specific set. I think it's good to keep my possibly non-existent readers on their possibly non-existent feet.

What attracted me to write about this set was that I'd been particularly taken by some of Above, Convenience Store!'s earlier work that they had released on their page; in particular, the track 'Up to Jack's for No Good' -- a brilliantly atmospheric Twin Peaks-sampling piece that incorporates the uniquely eerie tone of that aforementioned show into an appropriately smoky almost trip-hop context.

This sense of the eerie and the pastoral is something that runs through much of the Norwegian duo's work: their hazy, dream-like sounds often sound lo-fi, but they never sound restricted to within the confines of a bedroom studio. Like fellow lo-fi experimentalists Grouper and Fieldhead - Above, Convenience Store!'s droning lo-fi compositions often sound as if heard somewhere in the vast expanse of the outdoors, from a distant clearing beyond oppressively tall hills and trees.

This set - Tūndâr / Arvedálki Beaivvada - is no exception. Tūndâr begins with murky reverberating guitar chords that gradually come to be accompanied by further meticulously-placed layers of distorted guitar and synth drones. All of this melds together to fuse into one huge, spacious sound that sonically recreates the feeling of harsh winds forcing themselves through the trees and chilling the skin.

Second track Arvedálki Beaivvada pretty much starts straight away with the dense wind-like drones, underneath which are snatches of melodies hidden and buried beneath the chaos. Breaking this is a guitar passage that, as well as being evocatively haunting, also serves effectively to calm the storm: giving structure to the thick layers of noise as they shape themselves to fit the guitarwork in a way that sounds appropriately organic and natural. All of this - in a way somewhat reminiscent of the work of Flying Saucer Attack or of Mirrorring's excellent Foreign Body - establishes a very effective dichotomy between subdued calm and stormy chaos.

While writing this, I also found that the duo operate a Bandcamp page -- -- where you can stream and download two of their EPs - the brilliant Gasfarming EP, which contains the aforementioned 'Up to Jack's for No Good'; and the Planetary Exiles EP, which I have yet to listen to.

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While I'm here, I'd also like to take the opportunity to share the fourth instalment in Body in the Thames' series of mixes showcasing the music of the Drowned in Sound community, on which is contained a track of mine, 'The Almost Harp', as well as eleven other tracks by the freakishly talented members of the DiS forums.

1. Ghosting Season - Time Without Question (alternate version) (DiS user worrier1)
2. Evangelink88 - Shok Shok (DiS user evangelink)
3. J Howes - TD-W700 (DiS user Howes)
4. Moth Effect - Toggy Dubness (DiS user bongodeldrongo)
5. Aquatic Slime - Howling (DiS user wasted_opportunity)
6. Cementimental - . Strangely Enough, There Was Also Electricity in Ataru's House (DiS user cementimental)
7. Internet Forever - White Light Collision Course (DiS users alcxxk, laura_wolf, & hrtbps)
8. Neon Highwire - Just Suppose (DiS user maosm)
9. oh-dude - 120 to 30, delayed and filtered (DiS user chris-budget)
10. Go Faster - When the last note sounds (DiS user dead_fred)
11. Falling Stacks - View of a lake (DiS users moribund & JimmyHuntspill)
12. Mute Branches - The Almost Harp (DiS user mute-branches)

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