What does it sound like?:
Anthony Tombling, independent film director, is CUTS. He hails from Bristol and began his career as a singer for a band called Dragons. They released one album. He hasn’t given up singing altogether, guesting for Timo Maas, but his music-making is mainly shaping Electronica to accompany visual images. One of his pieces was used in the Ex Machina soundtrack and another in the Persons Of Interest TV show. Mainly, he composes music for his own films and this is his second release of 2018, the Exist 1 & 2 EPs being issued in April, the soundtrack to an experimental film about sleep paralysis.
A Gradual Decline has a terrible beauty. Tombling travelled to Iceland to record ice breaking from the glaciers and take advantage of Reykjavik’s perfect ambience for electronica, the land of ice and fire where two continental plates crack asunder. He uses those recordings in the manner of William Babinski’s Disintegration Loops where the sound declines as it repeatedly passes through the machines. He adds nagging beats, splintered noises and fragile, wispy melodies. Even at its most serene, the music creeps towards the edge. A synthesiser groans and creeks, a metronome ticks or a propulsive thrum threatens to sweep us away. Beneath it all, there is a seething urgency, a feeling that it is already too late.
The tracklist gives you a clear steer: Shattering Through, From Here To Nowhere, Time Is Not Your Friend, Beauty Collapsing, Kernel Panic, Gravitational Loss, Fear Of The Everything.
A Gradual Decline is an album that tastes of salt and ash, the taste of the earth as it slowly falls apart. It’s disquieting and enthralling.
What does it all *mean*?
Anthony Tombling has created an excellent Electronica protest album. It’s a shame only a small number of people are likely to hear it. It’s definitely a small byway of popular culture.
Goes well with…
A Widescreen cinema with Surroundsound. All eleven of these tracks are matched to a particular piece of film all drawing attention to the effects of global warming. The music and the visuals work hand-in-glove. Failing that, a good pair of headphones.
Might suit people who like…
Music that provokes thoughts and conjures up images.