Kirkcarrion by Takla Makan

Takla Makan


5 tracks

Running time: 1:05:21
Released: 03/2011

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  01   On Rookwood Down - 11:24
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  02   Solstice - 11:02
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  03   Elaine's Song - 8:20
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  04   La'al Stanes - 17:38
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  05   Greenwitch - 16:57
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Deep reverberating drones and ethereal sighing pads combine to create quite a dramatic beginning to ‘On Rookwood Down’. In no time at all, however, the first of many ballsy sequences surges forward. It overcomes the stormy effects and fits perfectly with a shuffling hissing rhythm. The resultant wall of syncopations attracted my attention away from a subtle lead line before a more forceful melody darts between the beats. This was already a truly awesome track but now it’s as if the rhythms and sequences are cranked up to eleven. Exciting melodies permeate the whole thing from the scintillating sequences to captivating leads. What an amazing opener this is! ‘Solstice’ has a rather dreamy opening, tinkling electronic flourishes providing a backdrop to moody flutey synth. Stabbing pulses break the tranquility then another full on bass sequence, as well as driving rhythm, puts the foot firmly down on the accelerator. A high register sequence soars over the top. This is incredibly infectious stuff; I just couldn’t keep my head still, nodding to the music like the Churchill dog (might not translate very well to non UK residents- sorry!). It’s not all at one hundred mile an hour though, as we enter a number of interludes along the way, giving us time to catch our breath. Then near the end- and brace yourself- we get a most wonderful angelic female vocal. Not a song, more a repeated sample but gorgeous nevertheless. A lonesome flute reaches for the heavens at the outset of ‘Elaine’s Song’. A sequence arrives and we get more of the lovely female vocals. This time it is a proper song but the way her voice contrasts with the warm analogue, though still synthetic, electronics is sublime. I have never heard vocals better used in electronic music. It has been done badly so many times. This is a lesson of how it can be pulled of and shows that when well done just how beautiful the results can be. It’s a return to purely instrumental realms with ‘La’al Stanes’. Swirling mists and other dreamy sounds give a lazy early morning feel. Another beautiful melody shines like a rising sun full of promise for the day ahead. We surge forward with a brace of tuneful bouncing sequences. The combination of pulsations and wistful lead is simply stunning. Just before the half way mark we return to the shifting atmospherics then a heavier sequence breaks through, quickly joined be mellotron pads. These suddenly subside for a shining lead to cut through the clouds. Pulsations soon return however, the bass line even heavier than before. ‘Greenwitch’ combines piano and a high hat line to get it underway. A slow beat and bass throb give a little energy to proceedings, also providing a structure through which first another fantastic staccato lead hangs then melodic sequence weaves. There are loads of elements to the track, each coming and going, melding around each other in different combinations to differing captivating effects but without over cluttering. At the nine minute mark the pace really quickens and I find it impossible to keep still such is the infectiousness of the beat and avalanche of notes. We have one brief return of the vocal to finish. It’s a wonderfully, Powerful, Beautiful but also Exciting track to finish an album which these three words would sum up perfectly. I have liked every one of the Takla Makan albums, ‘Contour’ and ‘Landlines’ being particular highlights but this is my favourite so far. It is so full of power but also joy. It just makes me happy to be alive. If you let the mention of the occasional use of vocals put you off that would be a real shame, as you would be missing a truly stunning album. At its core this is a recording that has it’s feet firmly planted in the Berlin School but there is also enough else about it, especially in the melody department, that should widen its appeal to a much wider audience. (DFL)