For a while in the early 2000s, one of my favorite bands was Hood. Actually, i still like them, but they are defunct. The Adams brothers have moved on to various projects of vary degrees of enjoyability. Western Edges is the new solo project of Richard Adams. Here he works entirely on his own, unlike Hood where he was with his brother and several others, or The Declining Winter where he collaborated with a wide variety of others.
Here, Adams is on his own with a bunch of electronics, taking the sort of pastoral mellowness that infused Hood and The Declining Winter and reworking it in an entirely electronic fashion. The overall effect reminds me of Schengen, or maybe Casino vs. Japan, or even Boards of Canada. There is a sort of lo-fi-ness to the proceedings, as if this is not electronic music that is polished into a high sheen (as so much seems to be in the dubstep world). Instead, what Adams is doing here really reminds me of a lot of the electronica i enjoyed in the early 2000s.
Wow. Retro for the last decade, already? I guess i am older than dirt, so you readers, uh, stay offa my lawn!
Adams starts things off with You Look So Beautiful From Up Here. Synths pulse slowly while whooshing sounds float in the background. A keyboard trill wanders through every so often. There is a tension just barely under the synths, and it reminds me, in a way, of Worriedaboutsatan.
Burbling keys under heavy echo and soaring synths move slowly, reverbingly, in Suddenly: A Dream. On Western Edges a deep drone reverbs as something tinkles. And again the drone carries a hint of menace as a deeper tone pushes to the foreground, but this menace never develops all the way.
The previous three songs were largely beatless, but on Solid Gold Soul a beat comes in, some sort of crunching noise that is very Casino vs. Japan. The beat crunches along as the keys surge in waves, more like the traditional use of a keyboard as opposed to the drones he has created elsewhere on this record. Other samples wander in, and this is a happy fun little song.
You're Going To Miss My Love is layers of wavering tones, stretched out to make a sort of mellow beat. The song doesn't end, it just sort of fades out... into All Downhill From Here, a short interlude of less than two minutes. This is heavily echoed, a clattering like a harpsichord or something along an aah-ing voice. The echo so intense that all of the sounds clatters around, crashing against itself.
Adams gives us a really great beat on Very Good On The Rushes. It's a little skipping thing, and he accompanies the beat with layers of keys. The song is only three minutes long, but i would love to hear more of it.
Finally we end with Absence which clocks in at just over seven minutes and is the longest song here. It features a beat that kicks faintly, under layers of keys. Then a great bass riff wanders in, one that reminds me of Hood's epic You Show No Emotion At All. A wonderful end to the record.
My only complaint is that this is too short. I think that this kind of meandering electronic music works best at longer lengths, stretched out to give the various drones and layers time to slide around against each other. But that's a minor complaint, really.
Richard Adams continues to impress.