smokeland studios

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  • broken spirits – steam and undergrowth – smokeland studios

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    collaborative project by Byung Yoon and Murray Lotnicz. melancholy atmospheres and drones.
    instrumentation: analog synth, clarinet, organ, metal, piezos, tape loops, strings etc.

    Broken Spirits is a collaboration between Byung Yoon and Murray Lotnicz, who work with analog synthesizers, clarinets, organs, and less specifically piezos, metal, and tape loops. Opener “Fall out of Town” is a feverish cloud of metallic resonances that squarely hit the bull’s-eye of stasis vs. change. The piece evolves organically, at a rate of time that pulls with a discreet gravity you can remain cocooned in indefinitely. Surrender to its Kabbalistic forcefield.

    “Pinsam” is an ambient track of oscillating organ waves washing through skeletal hints of melody, serving as a bridge between the album’s initial drones and the bewitching tangles of clarinets which comprise “Glass Veil.” “Grollo” is a loop of heavenly, pearly-gates keyboards that becomes garbled and decayed; a sample for the seedy side of televangelism.

    “Steam and Undergrowth” is the darkest track, with a cold electricity and totalitarian buzzing that’s oppressive and painful, especially as its electric snow storm approaches white-out conditions. The bleakness is tempered by the recklessly titled “Fantasy Rape,” a colorful, spacy smear of synthesizers. Closer “Ferrite Doldrums” revisits the clarinets again, played slower and more snakey the second time around.

    Broken Spirits’ label (Smokeland Studios) only have a handful or releases, and the description of this record (“melancholy atmospheres and drones”) does little to indicate the fantastic contrasts and variety therein. Add in the unassuming album cover, and “Steam and Undergrowth” could easily slide under the radar; which would be undeserving for a release that stirs the imagination and pushes play on the third eye’s mental movie reel as well as this one does. 9/10 — Mike Pursley