Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Esmerine- Dalmak

Coming back after a six year hiatus in 2011 with "La Lechuza", a tribute to a friend of the band, ESMERINE hit new heights. The subsequent touring took them to Turkey where the fertile local music scene provided further influences to add to their idiosyncratic mix of post-rock, folk and world music. Containing at their core two members of some of Constellation's best known acts, ex-GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR drummer Bruce Cawdron and SILVER MT. ZION's Rebecca Foon are this time joined by Jamie Thompson (UNICORNS, ISLANDS) and Brian Sanderson as well as a host of guest musicians. With instruments such as bendirs, darbukas and erbanes, it's fair to say that this isn't your standard rock album and it's this culture collision that allows for such a unique sound.

Opening gambit, "Learning To Crawl" is a minimal string led introduction before the intricately layered two-part "Lost River Blues". An extended melody is underpinned by slowly fluctuating and morphing rhythms. While the lead melodies are more introspective in tone, the marimba gives a warmth and upbeat feel while rhythmic mantras build to a fever pitch. Next, "Barn Board Fire" again utilizes the post-rock techniques of loud/quiet dynamics and intricate textures woven throughout to brilliant effect before the sparse "Hayale Dalmak" with an insistent pedal note holding together the looser sound. One of the album's centerpieces, "Translator's Clos" is another two-parter which again utilizes repeated rhythmic patterns and Eastern drones similar to OM but with lots of ornamentation. With a mixture of Western and Eastern instrumentation, the scope of sound is immense going from classical to something more recognizably 'rock' and from dense to minimal and back again constantly with a perfect balance between repetition and change.Following this, "White Pine" is another stripped back affair with cello and marimba before the album's conclusion, "Yavri Yavri", which is the closest to the "La Lechuza" sound ESMERINE venture while still firmly rooted in "Dalmak"'s Turkish influences. It's intricately layered but at the same time subtle with long sustained notes giving a meditative feel.

Overall, "Dalmak" is a beautiful album with much more depth than your average 'rock' album and unlike anything you've probably heard before. If you're looking to expand your musical horizons with something a little different then you'd be a fool not to give "Dalmak" a listen. (8/10)

"Dalmak" is out now through Constellation

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