Review: V.A. - Trust (2012)


artist: Vari­ous
release: Trust
format: CD
year of release: 2012
label: Time Released Sound
dur­a­tion: 69:12

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Com­pil­a­tions are strange things. Often they’re a pro­mo­tional tool, an archival effort, or an attempt to chart the essence of a musical cur­rent by cast­ing a wide net. From time to time, though, you find com­pil­a­tions that some­how func­tion more like a reg­u­lar album, a tightly knit whole with a clear vis­ion that just hap­pens to com­prise the works of dif­fer­ent artists. Trust, put out in a highly lim­ited edi­tion by Time Released Sound, is such a piece.

The album is an ambi­ent jour­ney through a rather dream­like land­scape, empty, aban­doned, dot­ted with ruins and patches of flowers. There is some­thing soft and pastel-tinted about it all, warm at times, chilly at oth­ers, but the atmo­sphere is never com­pla­cent or too easy-going.

Rely­ing heav­ily on the electro-acoustic approach that has been gain­ing ground in ambi­ent music for quite a while, the artists here gen­er­ally com­bine melod­ies on e.g. piano, strings, and bells with subtle manip­u­la­tions, field record­ings, and elec­tronic effects to achieve that grainy, organic tex­ture that I per­son­ally find very attract­ive. Some impres­sions: piano is quite prom­in­ent in the first two tracks, though the opener by The Frozen Vaults is more threat­en­ing, while David Newlyn’s piece is gentle and a tad wist­ful. An ear-catching track is Rudi Arapahoe’s twin­ning of bass-heavy treated piano with an eth­er­eal female voice. Wil Bolton’s “Per­sim­mon” is a won­der­fully sweet and calm piece of layered gui­tar strum­mings. Most of the second half of the album runs together in terms of sound, and my atten­tion tends to drift a little, though cer­tainly not in a bad way. You really get into the flow of the album by this point. It’s good to see Cloud Atlas’ Sonmi451 get into music, by the way, and her lovely relax­ing metal­lo­phone track “Helder” is about what you’d expect from a neuro-programmed ser­vant clone from the future. Finally, Richard Moult’s track opens up start­lingly dra­matic com­pared to the flow of the pre­ced­ing tracks, with its pair­ing of Moult’s trade­mark piano melod­ies and an uncon­ven­tional bowed string instru­ment drift­ing over it. Soon, how­ever, the piano goes mostly solo and we drift off to the end on its mel­an­cholic mean­der­ings.

Alto­gether, Trust proves that a well-curated com­pil­a­tion can be just as much of a coher­ent exer­cise in style as a reg­u­lar album. While the par­tic­u­lar style of this album builds on innov­a­tions from the past years, and doesn’t tread much new ground, it’s still a very enjoy­able work with a strong sense of atmo­sphere and vis­ion, a lovely place to get lost in for an hour. And another one. Et cet­era. It’s doubt­ful whether any cop­ies of this are still to be had, and if there aren’t, let this serve as a reminder to keep an eye on Time Released Sound for future ‘com­pil­a­tions’.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. The Frozen Vaults - Cloak of Linger­ing Fog (3:02)
2. David Newlyn - Strange the Things I Remem­ber (6:44)
3. Strie - Pom­sta Jel­enov (5:08)
4. Rudi Arapahoe - Double Bind (4:49)
5. Thomas Bel - The Late Even­ing Hours (5:48)
6. Wil Bolton - Per­sim­mon (7:21)
7. The Humble Bee - It’s Good to Bee Wrong (6:19)
8. Ant­onymes - Time Reversed (5:14)
9. Sonmi451 - Helder (7:35)
10. Maps and Dia­grams - The Icy Clasp of Loneli­ness (5:04)
11. Fes­cal - Morn­ing in Burma (5:21)
12. Richard Moult - A Name­less Hill (6:46)

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