Review: Dirk Serries - Microphonics XXI-XXV (2013)

artist: Dirk Ser­ries
release: Micro­phon­ics XXI-XXV
format: CD
year of release: 2013
label: Tone­float
dur­a­tion: 45:56

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Most of Dirk Ser­ries’ Micro­phon­ics works since the first five have been released on lim­ited LPs and as such, they’ve only reached a small audi­ence. It’s very wise of tone­float to go for a lar­ger CD edi­tion to house these four latest works, though, as it’s a quar­tet of very power­ful tracks that deserve as much expos­ure as pos­sible.

If you’re won­der­ing where “Micro­phon­ics XXI” went… I have no clue either. It hardly mat­ters, as the album opener imme­di­ately engulfs us in a bright­ness that sim­ul­tan­eously intro­duces the raw layered gui­tar sound that is the sole ingredi­ent of the album. You can really tell Ser­ries has ded­ic­ated years to explor­ing and hon­ing the sound of his Les Paul. Fear Falls Burn­ing already show­cased a lot of the res­ults of this pro­cess, but Micro­phon­ics may be an even more focused out­let of the musical per­fec­tion­ism. The second track, “There’s a Light in Vein” drops a bit of the glare of the first track, and builds up a sense of anti­cip­a­tion and fore­bod­ing. It’s not exactly dark, but there’s some­thing mys­ter­i­ous and awe-inspiring about the vel­vety buildup of this track, one where the pair­ing of gritty lead notes and a deep warm bass is espe­cially potent.

The most intense track has to be “The Burden of Hope”, though, metic­u­lously con­struc­ted around an unfold­ing har­mony that keeps return­ing. The melody is more or less table, but there is an immense rich­ness of timbres open­ing up all around it. It’s like watch­ing a flower open in eleven minutes, like bil­low­ing cloud­masses, a glow­ing warmth that is not just com­fort­ing, but stim­u­lat­ing. Obvi­ously, words don’t do it justice. The final track is a return to the ini­tial bright­ness, again without let­ting go of any of the raw edge to the sound.

As if we needed any more con­vin­ving, this latest series of Micro­phon­ics record­ings shows a mas­ter at work when it comes to the com­bin­a­tion of layered har­mon­ies and explor­a­tions of gui­tar tim­bre. What’s more, I feel these tracks shows a more intense and heavy side to the pro­ject that was not as appar­ent in some earlier record­ings and per­form­ances. In other words, less ambi­ent, more drones and heav­i­ness. If that does any­thing for you (it does for me), I’d say some tracks push into the ana­log drone ter­rit­ory of an artist like Troum. Really, though, this stands for itself: a thor­oughly impress­ive set of gui­tar drones.

Reviewed by O.S.


XXII Mount­ing Among The Waves (11:29)
XXIII There’s A Light In Vein (10:49)
XXIV The Burden Of Hope (11:15)
XXV Thou­sands Of Rivers (12:23)