Silber Records, run by Brian John Mitchell, who's also a musician, is devoted to the progressive side of modern rock, and the 'rock' tag has a tendency to wear itself out long before arriving at Silber's doorstep. This collaborative effort—the Vlor "group", masterminded by Mitchell and serially composed by a quite populated informal collective of musicians in six states and five countries—occupies myriad modes: shoegaze, alt rock, ambient, emo, etc. As such, it's kind of an introduction to the label itself, one release of which, Aarktica, a participant in Six-Winged, is reviewed here.
The angelic I Have Left Home, an ambient/chant affair, leads off the anthology in a wistful repeating intro refrain dominated by female chorale (a one-woman ensemble if my guess is correct), but along the way, through the 16 cuts, you'll encounter guitars -- some heavily processed, others not—keyboards, cello, melodica, strings, and percussion. The goal appears to have been to achieve the attenuated meditative drone state currently so popular in the vanguard and keep it, nicely done here. Don't expect Lars Ulrich to be unloading concrete through the speakers or Robert Plant to be driving dogs berserk with microphone-shattering ululations.
Contemporarily, there's a good deal of Eno, Sensation's Fix, Aphex Twin, Coma Virus, Jeff Greinke, Robert Rich, and the prog catalogue of serious sound sculpturists and risk takers over the last few decades. Classical antecedents in Cage, Oliveiros, Partch, Subotnick, and the electronic pioneers and avant-garde movement can be detected as well. In fact, most of the participants here are more electro-Romantic and diode-Impressionistic than is normally the case. Even the moody pop of She Goes Out with Boys, one of only a few cuts that could even vaguely hope for any dimmest type of mainstream recognition, Watch Me Bleed achieving a better chance of that, is buttressed by a throbbingly muted factory hellscape settling into purgatorial neutrality. That said, though, within that fairly tight bandwidth, there's quite a bit of variety here, all of it well enscripted.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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