RELEASE DATE: 6th April 2018
RECORD COMPANY: Rocket Recordings
‘Mien’ are a collaborative movement of musicians who in their own individual parts have been personally involved in the creation of some of the most exhilarating releases to ever have graced our ears over the past twenty or so years. Borne back in 2004 whilst crossing paths on various tours and out of an inherent desire for sonic exploration by a quartet of musicians comprising of Alex Maas (Black Angels), Tom Furse (The Horrors), Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone) and John-Mark Lapham (The Earlies), ‘Mien’ have created a self-titled debut that took fourteen years to come to fruition. It’s inner workings are drenched with hallucinogenic nuances carefully stacked in a particular manner with each of it’s individual players adding a specific penetrable layer to each of the tracks whilst trying to avoid falling headlong into the pitfalls of some previously explored sonic paths. It works, albeit in a frenzied, motorik and experimental kind of way through all of it’s ten tracks. There are dark passages of atmosphere merged with wide scoped neo-psychedelia, brilliant broad spectrum sweeps through various music genres that all coalesce in one psych infused sonic surge, channelling psychedelic leanings from the past whilst inputting some modernistic sonic themes just for fun. ‘Mien’ was officially released back on the 6th April 2018 via the good folks over at ‘Rocket Recordings’ and is available to buy/download right now on various formats from rocketrecordings.bandcamp.com
‘Earth Moon’ spirals into audible range swirling melodically in a haze of sitar and keyboard before rumbling tribal drums and deep penetrating bass frequencies rattle it’s teeth, in turn dragging steady vocalisations with them and we’ve set sail on a sonic voyage of discovery. This track builds brilliantly and leads the listener into those monumental chorus progressions with ease. Although it’s eastern themed flair threads an already well stitched psychedelic formula, ‘Earth Moon’ has enough going on beneath it’s stereotypical psychedelic leanings to help it stand out. Up next the undulating tones of ‘Black Habit’ fizz and dance on layers of swirling synths and dark reverberations. A repetitious bass line (for those clued in it originally appeared on The Horrors track – Sheena Is A Parasite) rumbles as that driving percussion pulls everything together tightly and Mass’ vocals lean precariously on top of that surging instrumental growl whilst ‘Im Tired Of Western Shouting’ is tirelessly good. It’s dystopia leaning credentials pulse and lull through passages of awe inspiring instrumentation and deep sonic crevices filled with a kind of lysergic sparseness, perfectly suited to host those melodic doom-laden vocal lines.
‘You Dreamt’ is distinctly electronic and a complete reimagining of the song ‘I Dreamt’ lifted from The Black Angels 2017 released Death Song. It rattles on a bedrock of breakbeats and sequenced atmospherics whilst being sonically assaulted by waves of raging noise and dark oppressive vocalisations up until the arrival of ‘Other’, and it’s here that we’re allowed to take pause. Swirling instrumental drones buffer and twirl as haunting reverberations take hold ushering in a deep bellowing bass tone; mesmerising in stature, it’s swells of ambient samples rise and fall through clouds of nullifying reverb as we float in a kind of sonic static surrounded by twinkling lines of synth and punishing atmospherics that eventually blend into the absolutely immense ‘Hocus Pocus’. This track begins swirling around yearning vocalisations and the twang of fuzzy guitar. Atmospheric swells of synth, subtle flutes and building electronics arrive and pulse in unison before slow menacing percussion launches us out into a reverb strewn landscape. Dark sonic permutations undulate through instrumental breaks reminiscent at times to Nine Inch Nails before we’re pulled back into a huge pulse meandering sonic noise and on into it’s final death throws. It’s a mesmerising track and a definite highlight on this release.
‘Ropes’ shimmies into the sonic ether rattling on repetitive shakers and the eastern twang of sitar before creeping sequenced bass frequencies bounce and move beneath haunting vocalisations and the occasional pull of guitar. Cascading lines of synth enter the fray as the track begins to build and we trip out to some spectacular cosmic vibes before that wide instrumental break takes a slight pause before it sucks every single frequency into it only to belch them back out in spectacular fashion. There’s more going on here than just sonic experimentation, there’s a groove to each of these tracks that is very difficult to shake off. ‘Echolalia’ drones on a repetitive tone, pulsing and swirling through different pans before erupting into a distorted behemoth that circumnavigates a magnificent vocal line, occasionally whipped by feedback laden guitars, weirdly brilliant off-kilter backing and wonderfully warped production whilst ‘Odyssey’, the albums penultimate piece, has krautrock like tendencies with repetitive instrumentation, throbbing bass lines and that brilliantly executed vocal performance. The album closes out with the blissful ‘Earth Moon (Reprise)’. We drop into hazy sonic frequencies filled with intoxicating eastern tinged swirls and marvellous progressions of guitar, swells of building synth and hypnotically peaceful vocalisations before meandering through repetitive verse/chorus progressions with ease until that slow moving break-beat arrives and we’re swept away on ambient hued clouds of synth, rambling bass and sequenced electronics. It’s a fascinating bookend to an absolutely marvellous debut album.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last five years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, postpunk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting genres of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.