The Low Point label has elliptically been associated with drones in the ambient genre, relying less on electroacoustic instrumentation and more on synthetic melody, from proprietor Gareth Hardwick’s waxy tunes to Kyle Bobby Dunn’s now revered melting ambience. Newcomer to the imprint Lviv pushes the heat dial closer to the electroacoustic, with electric guitar drones working together with video for each of the three audiovisual pieces on their album “Transmission”.
Although initially quite reserved rather than resplendent, Lviv gathers enough power for the senses to impart an altogether ruminative impression. The tones are a touch maudlin, yet patient. Of course, maudlin wouldn’t be worthy without a partial resolution or transparency, and that’s where, as the pieces progress, the manipulation of electric guitar chords edge the record into farther flung territories than those traversed by contemporaries such as Grouper or David Tagg.
As a textural entity, “Transmission” commands a focus through open-endedness from the listener. The meaning behind the music gathers an extra dimension when paired with the visuals: volcanoes erupting, old-time conversations, old-fashioned décor, old-world traditions (glasses, dresses, earth, ’90s audiovisual cross-cutting). It feels like a time-travelling exercise as much as the music is a voyaging to a netherworld on its own. The points of reference are obliquely synchronised because the visuals are so abrasive — not recommended viewing for an epileptic. At the same time, the sound is purified as an unglazed, discrete entity when it is left to serenade your eardrums alone.
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There will be a special audiovisual performance to launch “Transmission” at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema Cafe Bar on 15th November 2014, with free entry. For more details see https://www.facebook.com/events/818667131488960.