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review written by John Lillis.
Okay, so I have the worst attention span. Sometimes I boil the kettle and forget to even make the tea. D’oh! So, when I say Dubh Thrian should make longer tracks, he/she/they should take it as a compliment. Anything that arrests my focus for over 3 minutes these days is doing an awesome job. I know absolutely zilch about this recording entity, which is good, because this is music that definitely benefits from a lack of identity or pre-existing material. The tracks themselves stand as the visual point, like dark photos taken by a lonely soul who patrols a deserted industrial city by night. The atmosphere is dense and overcast, where shadows hide secrets and the fog obscures all light. Burial comparisons are inevitable, given the 2-step leanings, and the fact that the music relies on the subtly evolving synths and minimal drum programming to sketch out faint but beautiful sonic urban landscapes. In some senses, the narrative here has been explored many times before (strong bang of Boards Of Canada here), but a story is still interesting when the teller is allowed the freedom to describe events in their own terms. And while the garage percussion and chord progressions affirm this is someone who understands the way electronic music is currently shifting and metamorphosing, there’s a clear respect for the importance of warmth and light in sound. Ethereal vocals, harp strings and analog hiss flicker through most of the tracks, adding to the fragility and humanity of the art being crafted here, reinforcing the idea of a producer more concerned with developing their own unique world rather than trying to induce screw-faces from yoked-up teenagers when the bass drops. Dubh Thrian will make an amazing long playing record, no doubt – but, again, my main issue with this EP is it’s sharp brevity. The first three tracks combined have nearly the same playing time as the EP closer, a 9 minute epic acid reworking of ‘Nia’ by the Somatix Krew, which kinda rocks the tone a little off its trajectory. Side by side, the different sound directions seem a little at odds with each other and certainly alter the entire mood of the EP into something completely different, perhaps not the best move. Like two intelligent but distract-able school boys who choose to sit together at the back class, maybe the grades would be higher if they were actually separated and allowed to flourish on their own. Still though, both sounds are incredibly well presented, and this EP heralds a new dark talent to soundtrack those misty, smokey cold January nights. Original spliffage material.