Review of 1897 [12k1053]

Musique Machine (.COM)

1897 is the second full length album by Australian electro/acoustic mood setters Seaworthy on the great ambient/electronic meets acoustic label 12k. It finds the three piece weaving a darker, starker and more melancholy work than their first album for the label the excellent Map in Hand.

The bands sound is still focusing in on a mixture of: bluesy guitar hovers and twangs, folky richness and slumbering drone emission with subtle electronics elements and treatments. But overall there’s a bleaker, more sombre and drifting mood present here with at times an almost dark ambient/organic industrial air arising, yet it never gets too dark with a richly harmonic in place and the bands distinct sound still present- it’s just darkening the sonic waters somewhat. Part of the reason for the albums tone has to do with were it was recorded; which was in and around a 100 year old decommissioned ammunitions bunker in Newington, Australia. The Bunker was Constructed in 1897 (hence the albums name) to store gunpowder, with the bunker been use by the Australian navy up until recently. The band utilize the natural reverb and tones of the bunkers rooms to record guitar and electronic elements, as well as mixing in field recordings from inside the buildings, and the surrounding wetland and forest environments. But the field recording never overrun or take over the bands mainly drifting and shimmering guitar based sound; they just add rewarding and atmospric detail to the albums rich harmonic yet darkly tinged unfold.

1897 is more album based compared to Map In Hand with sonic and musically themes repeating themselves here and there; along with the wonderful mood the band conjur up through-out the album which is best described as summer past melancholy meet nostalgic harmonic warmth. It’s a haunting, harmonic and sadly soothing album that really mangers to get under ones skin over replays.

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