Narrow-minded Metalhead reviews experimental music – IV
[Siro177] Alex Spalding – Amos In Flames
A few months ago I noted quite a lot of cheers and satisfied listeners of Alex Spalding’s effort Amos in Flames, which is why I decided to give it a real chance. Alex Spalding is the owner of the label Noise-Joy and has been actively releasing albums and committing to the underground music scene since 2006.
First impression, the refreshing cover art, gives Amos In Flames a headstart. Amos in flames equips my favourite kind of underground cover style, a blurry image. To make things better, the image is stylishly topped with cool oldschool font and lines.
It is only natural that also the music impresses instantly. Amos in Flames is quite a varied album and gets an ambient and promising start in Golden Ships, followed by oddly shortly ending, but extremely pretty, Funeral Flowers which leaves you hungring for more. Turns out this track seems to shape out much of the album in an unfortunate way. Many tracks, for example Succor and In Essence seem to either end too soon or sound like sketches in need of a few more layers. And amongst them there are a few jewels which sound a lot more ready than the rest.
My clear personal favourite is the 4th track, Glimmer. It is packed with an hypnotic beat and excellent varying ambience making its 6 minute length feel like 3 minutes. It would be a perfect track for a demo (demoscene, “non-interactive multimedia presentation made within the computer”).
After the wonderful first 4 tracks Bluelids / Breaking Apart isnt a worthy successor and Succor, while having interesting variety and a beautiful background melody sounds like an unfinished track. It could become a fine one if worked on though.
Disappointing and and in essence are made of similar fruity loops -reminding sound and not much happening under an okayish background. Where did all that glimmer go so soon? Amongst the way to the end, Crushing Spirit brings more bread to the table with a danceable rhythm, making the biggest peak in the “just ok” mid-album 25 minutes.
Just when you think the record has said everything, the 13th track Nazca flows into psychedelic oddbeat. The track starts off with dreamlike enticing ambience and turns on a wicked and odd beat, giving you some examples what Alex Spalding can do when he is on his game. Unfortunately unlike Glimmer the beat doesn’t hold its ground and lingers along a bit too much (probably cause its odd and when you’ve listened to for a while it stops being odd and loses catchiness), making this track good instead of great.
Following its name the 15th and last track 5th Cup – Divinorum has an extremely druggy feel. Starting a buildup it sets out its ground ready to explode… But instead keeps tripping up and down on acid and turning up new melodies and oddness. As a sistertrack to Nazca it closes up the album in a memorable manner.
All in all Amos in flames is an interesting piece of work and if you can find your way through all sketch-like tracks it delivers some fine nighttime music. With more self-criticism, it could have been an excellent ep. Had Alex Spalding read my mind and only released the 7 clearly better songs Amos In Flames would surely be a contender for my top 10 albums of 2011.
Overall score: 7½/10
Download the release: http://www.archive.org/details/siro177AlexSpalding-AmosInFlames