artist: Dirk Serries
release: Microphonics XXI-XXV
year of release: 2013
detailed info: discogs.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)