I have been following closely the developments of the experimental music scene in Bratislava for the past couple of years, and alongside now established labels and artists collectives such as Exitab, Proto Sites, Lom and Urbsounds, I am always happy to discover new names emerging, especially from smaller cities or musically uncharted corners of Slovakia.
Mt Accord, is a supposedly young, (at least in terms of output), outfit with virtually no formal musical background, from Banská Bystrica, a quaint town at the foot of the Low Tatra and the Western Carpathians. The whole EP was created in the space of two weeks. “I usually started with simple chord progression, which I then slowed down. Then I made more and more layers, that’s it”, explained Mt Accord in a brief email exchange. And yet, it is soon apparent that there is more to it than meets the eye.
The serene atmosphere of the intro carries an element of uneasiness with a melancholic undertone progressively darkening the quixotic sound stream. The tracks’ titles do betray the onset of creeping anxiety ready to ripple the tranquil surface, but the placid flow lulls the listener into a false sense of security reinforced by languid keyboards. Droplets of echo and reverb add a degree of disquiet that gradually dims the luminous overtones. Faltering steps lead to an impasse. By the end of the journey untamed percussive elements and insistent menacing loops, thwart any possible attempt at reaching a cathartic resolution.
The theme of Common Hindrances might be crippling self-doubt, but Mt Accord displays enough confidence to insert an elongated silent coda at the end of each track, thus allowing for trepidation to abate while leaving just the right amount of space on the canvas for projection to occur. In my case, I sensed dread rearing its ugly head at each different stage, like a shadowy and mercurial presence lurking in the background and intent on spoiling an otherwise pastoral scene. However, contrasting forces only brush against each other without openly colliding. By keeping the palette of sounds deliberately narrow Mt Accord applies rare restraint in a debut album and shows clarity of vision.
Common Hindrances is available here as a digital download.
Photography: Veronika Dobalova