Sonaris Music Review: Alb(L)um by TimHeld

Update: Lookout for TimHeld’s Kickstarter to raise funds for this release. With a pitch like “I will come rock a house party at YOUR house if you are in the Seattle area. I will come to Eburg if you throw in gas money.” for $100 supporters, how can you resist?

Taking another dive into atmospheric, experimental music with TimHeld’s forthcoming album, the aptly titled – Alb(L)um.

Rather than a “performance piece” I would equate this album more to the highly technical playing of a Van Cliburn award winner, if they were to perform experimental music. It’s not easy to listen to, sometimes downright jarring with the amount of jagged, raw sounds. One can only imagine the stamina it takes to produce something like this, the effort the ears must put forth to endure a beating such as that of the jack-hammering white noise.

No doubt about it, this album goes hard in the paint, without any mercy or melodic pretense. Each piece is crafted, as if by an engineer, with pinpoint precision. Little room for error is left with the positioning and structure of the various sound elements which comprise this release.

The tracks flow well as a sequence, each with its own persona, but each as dangerous sounding as the last. The imagery presented is diverse, but all centered around a tension, an everpresent theme through the album. There are ripping synths, techno beats, industrial – heavy-machinery-like sounds, sidechained backing pads, delayed and filtered vocals, and more, all coming together to form a complex atmospheric system.

The album is mixed well, with some interesting panning and compression. It’s a complete package.

The highlight, for me, is the massive industrial beat which hit halfway through Blip, sending chills through my body with it’s raw, unrelenting march-like presence. Easily a Matrix-esque soundtrack piece, perhaps something to be played obscenely loud in a German basement techno club.

The album is a mixed bag of different vibes and emotions, like something from the mind of Amon Tobin or perhaps Trent Reznor… if you’re into industrial/experimental, rather than melodic – easy listening – music, you’ll definitely want to check this out when it’s released worldwide on December 31, 2013. Stay tuned, but in the meantime check out TimHeld’s Bandcamp page for more of that creative goodness.

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