Article by Jeff Haight
Cavern of Anti-Matter, a trio consisting of Stereolab mastermind Tim Gane, former Stereolab drummer Joe Dilworth and electronic artist Holger Zapf, are set to release their debut record entitled 'Void Beats/Inovocation Trex'. This sprawling 72-minute sonic journey also features some stellar vocal work from Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom, as well as sound processing from Jan St. Werner of Mouse on Mars. This monster of an album contains 12 tracks full of metronomic beats and relentless bass lines that create an amazing framework for the cascading sounds to explore. The opening track 'Tardis Cymbals' begins with pastoral, chiming, delayed guitars and is joined by a pulsing drum machine beat that carries the song along to great heights. This track is a perfect example of how masterfully this band can create complex arrangements with uncommon time signatures and make it sound effortlessly created. Tim Gane has always been a skillful arranger and these tracks absolutely benefit from the longer form, taking their time to grow and evolve into stunning soundscapes. The opening track continues for its 13-minute duration with crashing reverse cymbal washes and gorgeous dub delayed guitar shrapnel. It is easy to get lost in the trance like feel of this track and be rewarded when the enlightening bell like ringing guitars towards the outro clear the air. This is art, and a mesmerizing opening track that only hints at the brilliant journey to come.
'Blowing my Nose Under Close Observation' begins with some fantastic sputtering synth bass lines that quickly change into a dreamy arpeggio pattern and back into the established trippy groove. The echoing stereo guitars and electronic manipulation add to the amazing textures of this track. This band is all about creating rhythm and krautrock-like grooves, a completely hypnotic effect throughout the duration of the record. 'Insect Fear' brings more a more Kraftwerk-like pace and some really great repeating organ parts that blend so well with the mix of gritty electric guitars. This track has some great energy provided by the drumming of Joe Dilworth and once again the band shows off its creative muscle by easily maneuvering between differing repeating synth passages. The emphasis on rhythms and letting them breathe is a mainstay of this record's sound, and the band add an array of ear-catching textures to the tracks as they progress, certainly demanding some repeated listening. One of my instant favorites, 'Melody in High Feedback Tones', brings the emotional weight with an absolutely stunning mix of clean electric guitars, synths and bubbling sound design that almost took my breath away. This track is a dreamy adventure that covers an amazing amount of melodic ground in just under four minutes. The rhythm section keeps the pace moving along nicely even when it echoes away to reveal inspired harpsichord-filled breakdowns. Shimmering guitar leads combine with fantastic filtered synths that take off for the stars and drift you back down comfortably to terra firma.
'Hi Hats Bring the Hiss' is an eerie, almost tense explosion of sound that is at once mesmerizing as it is nearly unsettling in its relentless pace. This track features some of the record's most impressive sound design with its post-apocalyptic soundscape and metallic textures disintegrating. The mix of electronic percussion, blasts of guitar feedback and a live kit really adds to the driving feel of the track, and allows the ensuing controlled chaos to have a point to launch from. Those who listen with headphones will be treated to an awesome mix of sounds in the stereo field and some really inspired guitar work from Tim Gane. An amazing piece of music! Bradford Cox of Deerhunter is a featured vocalist on the next track, 'Liquid Gate', and he delivers a great hushed, multi-tracked performance that really fits in well as an added texture in the sound palette of the band. This track is more deliberate in its expression of melody and arrives at a perfect point in the record after the opening five longer form pieces. The synth work really shines on the next track 'Pantechnicon' with its intro of beautiful open airy chords and sublime melodies. This track was another favorite, and again felt like a sonic adventure full of ear-catching thrills. Each track is a layered masterfully to create a unique soundscape, and despite the stunning amount of creative ideas packed into a track, the mixes never feel congested or labored over. This is certainly an impressive feat with the amount of ideas this trio has to work with. Sonic Boom provides an amazing appropriately warped vocal part to 'Planetary Folklore' that harkens back to the opening track in its tonality. This track is much like a journey through space and time with little stops along the way to gander at something momentously beautiful. It is layered with little melodic excursions and carried on a wash of cymbal crashes. The harmonic tone of the effected vocal towards to end almost melts into the sound as another texture and is really something to hear. This provides an appropriate transition that fades nicely into the following track, 'Echolalia', that begins with echoing drum machine hi hats and grows into a sunny, tremolo-filled, energetic burst of sound.
The last track, 'Zone Null', is simply gorgeous and a fantastic ending piece. From the opening twinkling piano notes to the emotive string parts that make up the middle section of the song, the melodic gifts on this song are numerous. The emotional weight of this song is heavy and the instrumentation floats the listener along to a serene ending. It effortlessly wraps up the amazing mix of sound that was just experienced and provides a stunning end to a brilliant record. This journey is absolutely one worth taking, simply just to behold the superb mix of sounds along the way. This record demands to be heard and easily provides one of the best musical experiences so far in 2016. A true piece of art and a sonic masterpiece in my opinion. Highly recommended!
Cavern of Anti-Matter's website
Buy: 'Void Beats/Invocation Trex'
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