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Dissolved – Symbiotic Colouration

[Ltd CDR, Binkcrsh]

Glaswegian Paul Daniels’ solo project Dissolved has appeared on various netlabels since 2003 and although he only really began regularly releasing material around 2005 he has since become increasingly prolific with his output.  He has released material on a range of formats from freely downloadable MP3 albums and EPs to small run cassette, CDR and CD releases on a wide range of labels and through his own website.  Symbiotic Colouration is a compilation of tracks, some new and some previously released on cassette, almost all of which have never been released on CD before.  Mastered at Metarc, the compilation is released as a very limited run CDR by Binkcrsh, a label perhaps better known for its free netlabel output than for its physical releases.

Often constructed around a gently drifting backdrop of ambient synth tones, Daniels’ music heads in one of two directions; it either explores sparkling ambience or breaks out into a precise rhythmic beat.  “Radiometric Dating” is the first of the tracks to head down the rhythmic route with very precise beats, crisp melodies and a discrete droning synth backdrop pulling everything together into a sort of melodic ambient techno glitch hybrid.  “Visions Are Faceless” which follows it is the opposite, full of gentle undulating tones that soar and roll with an air of introspective melancholy.  Somewhere between the two is “The Slow Eve” with its almost medieval theme, a consistent beat, inaudible whispers and a flood of melodic ambient tones.  “Leech in Magenta” returns to the style of “Radiometric Dating” but increases the intensity of the rhythms, setting them against a cinematic backdrop.  “Lattitudes” returns to a gentler dark ambient footing with undulating waves of flowing texture layered beneath gentle chiming melodies and deep bassy tones that combine to form a sense of deep introspection and intimate personal meaning.  “Loft Hider” continues the theme but is lighter and features climbing electric guitar which gives it a more positive air of optimism; a theme that follows through into “15 Liquid Diopters” but this time in a purely electronic manner that portrays a gently reflective mood.  Slightly edgier is “Take the Phantom” with its glowing spectral ambience, tense undulating tones and discrete fidgety rhythms.  “At 4AM It All Makes Sense” is based on almost orchestral tones that rise and fall with rolling grandeur under a snappy rhythm as the album nears its close.  Finally, to close the album, “Are They Falling Through” is a fragile piano piece that ends the collection on a sombre but graceful note.

Although Daniels’ music is often referred to as ‘dark ambient’ there is nothing particularly sinister about it, it is more emotional and introspective than it is dark or mysterious.  There are ‘dark’ elements within it but they are generally fairly subtle and implied rather than deliberate, focusing instead on surging layers of ambient texture and precise rhythms.

For a body of work spanning some seven years, Symbiotic Colouration shows a strong level of cohesion, the tracks sit together nicely and relate to each other well providing an excellent overview of the Dissolved sound and Daniels’ consistency in developing music that has steadily evolved but also retained its identity.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆



Published by Igloo Magazine [March 9th 2010]

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