Ambient music isn’t something I think about often. The general stereotype being that it’s for art school types who go to museums in between cups of espresso and Sylvia Plath novels. Then I realized, shit, I would do that every day if I could. But I can’t. Anyway, listen to Gathered//Slain, the second ep released in a month by Japanese Meat Fetish. It’s nothing like Music For Airports. It’s ambient/noise done DIY by one of my absolute favorite local musicians.
The opening track, Dark Matter, sounds like a severely damaged bootleg of an abandoned project by Brian Eno and Bradford Cox. It’s definitely the most disorienting track on the release, but consider that a warm welcome.
Gathered, Slayed introduces an agreeable piano to the EP, but features no vocals. It incorporates chance music, taking no pains to maintain silence in the studio. If you let yourself picture the environment this music comes from, the imagery is haunting. These are not the finger-plunks of a classical neophyte, but the intentional strikes of a familiar and curious artist.
Heavens Coming Out is a melancholy guitar-and-vocal probe into reverb land. There’s something of a chord structure here, which is nice for a short while.
777 takes you down the backstreets of reverb land. If you don’t want to hear anything unpleasant, turn back here. Early on, the tones are reminiscent of the sounds heard in Heavens Coming Out, but trades musical progression for monochromatic drone in the key of abrasion. Brace yourself if you plan to listen to this one to the end.
Chopping Block takes a right turn back into the Cox district of town. It’s even fainter than Heavens Coming Out, but like it, it gains direction as it progresses. By the end, it could be mistaken for some of the more ambient guitar lines by David Gilmour in some of the soundtracks he did in the More era of Pink Floyd. It’s great.
The EP closes with Lord Lemme Know, which reintroduces the piano heard in the title track of Gathered Slayed, but also includes a busy layer of acoustic guitar shift-strumming. The two instruments ebb and flow in a dizzying and delicate dance blurring the limits of consonance, dissonance, and tempo change. It feels like a radio edit that’s been cut short of what it wants to be. I wish this track went on forever.