Peculiar listens are usually some of the most longstanding and ultramundane, a characteristic Mother Room, the solo project of ambient metal chap James Meuleners, casts over his debut LP “Scorched”. Stooped in the anti-pastoral grit of Cabaret Voltaire effected vocals and Jesu shoegaze crush, it’s a fitting title, as all the tracks sound like burnt embers from the sun.
Meuleners could benefit from some song structure guidance if you were thinking in X-Factor mode, but this ultimately misses the point. The guitar playing is hot on the heels, and the low hum starting the record carries with it the fractal gumption of brighter drone. This counterbalance of opposites – the humdrum light and dark, soft and hard quality barometer journalists are all too often caught out by, also misses in “Scorched”. The rule stays in the middle ground, inching out from transcendental introspection to posture uniqueness.
Buddhist teacher Adyashanti in his “Falling Into Grace: Session 9” describes formlessness and form as paradoxes, and this feeling (or rather, lack of) is what sprawls its way across the record like a silver arrow. The shine is always there, edging into the foreground from the quiver, as on the grunting, warmanlike rhythm of “Sin”. Slightly comprehensible lyrics about “fire” and “heart” pepper the narrative, a tie dyed with black and mauve, giving a predominating intersectional posterity; a call to brandishing feminism in sound.
The writhing analogue synth/vocal/guitar attraction trio of “Body” moves along in a fashion befitting a house boat gliding on the waves, abandoned, set free from a buoy and lost to the ocean. That’s another attractive thing about “Scorched” – besides the usual ‘letting mind wander’ synopsis, the determination is to tread over nature with a drudgery and sin of a neat whisky hangover. Meuleners may not be drifting to the sound of his own drum just yet, there being aforementioned artists who have scorched before him. But I have a feeling that as he grows, we will have someone who not only gives room to the mother generation of structured formality, but also gives mother nature room. A very satisfying LP.