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JAMES WELBURN

«Sleeper in the Void»
MIASMAH, MIA050

British, Lillehammer-based master drone and noise bass guitarist James Welburn creates dark ambient soundscapes on «Sleeper in the Void» with co-conspirators from the Norwegian underground scene – drummer Tomas Järmyr (of Motorpsycho and Zu fame), trumpeter Hilde Marie Holsen and vocal artist Juliana Venter, who collaborated before with Welburn as the W/V duo (silken tofu, 2018). «Sleeper in the Void» is the sophomore album of Welburn, following «Hold» (Miasmah, 2015, recorded with The Necks drummer Tony Buck, who played in the album), and marks the 50th release of the Berlin-based Miasmah label.

Welburn expands his sonic palette on «Sleeper in the Void» and the six pieces offer distinct, energetic and compelling textures. The opening, dark «Raze», begins with Järmyr’s highly resonating, ritualistic cymbals and drums work that lay the foundation for Welburn’s sculpted and stormy bass noises and drones. The following «Falling from Time» relies on distance, distorted and manipulated techno beat, slowly and methodically drowning in enigmatic, noisy oblivion. Welburn and Järmyr unite again on the title piece and build a suggestive, cinematic soundscape, at first echoing the rhythmic pattern of church bells, soon transformed to a massive, ringing black metal pulse, somehow veiled under tonnes of seawater.

«In and Out of Blue», with Järmyr and Venter, contrasts Verner’s celestial dirge with massive and powerful, raw and brutal riffs of bass and drums. «Parallel», with Hilde Marie Holsen, is surprisingly meditative and pristine, sketching an almost nostalgic scene of distant thunder. The last piece «Fast Moon», with Venter, offers a distorted, tribal industrial beat, accentuated randomly by the eccentric vocal gestures of Venter that add a human perspective to the mechanical yet hypnotic waves of noisy beats.

36 minutes of inviting, imaginative soundwaves.

Eyal Hareuveni 

James Welburn (b-g, elec), Tomas Järmyr (dr), Hilde Marie Holsen (tp, elec), Juliana Venter (v)

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