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Lowercase Noises - Migratory Patterns CD (album) cover

MIGRATORY PATTERNS

Lowercase Noises

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.05 | 2 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A sad story of loneliness deep below the blue

The most recent project from one-man band Andrew Othling is the loosely conceptual work 'Migratory Patterns.' The subject of the album is as haunting as it is fascinating, and it's a true story. Scientists have discovered the existence of a single lone whale, species unknown, calling out at regular intervals and going unanswered as it travels the deep alone. Since 1992 the animal has been calling out at 52-hertz and moving in patterns unrelated to other whales. There is much speculation as to why this creature is alone and going unanswered...could be the last of his species, could be deformed and thus 'speaking' incorrectly, or simply too far from the typical range of other whales to be understood. Whatever the reason his calls have gone unanswered for as long as the Navy continued to monitor them.

Othling has used this strange story as the perfect base for a musical project that actually incorporates the recorded call of the '52-hertz' whale as it is known to researchers. He describes the new work as a 'sort of soft-electronica sound coupled with somewhat darker melodies, making it Lowercase Noises' most contemplative album yet.' It has a noticeably different feel than the excellent preceding work 'Carry Us All Away' which was colorful and occasionally rocking. Here the style is toned way down to a slower and peaceful current that captures the oddly claustrophobic feel of the deep underwater universe. Single piano notes ring out across spacious keyboard textures in 'Song for No One.' The Eno ambient feel continues with the repeating patterns of 'Persistence' suggesting how it might feel to continually call out where you are alone. As the album moves along beats are introduced and Andrew's layered guitars build density, occasionally supported again by the gorgeous cello work of Shannon Harden. She takes 'Depths' to another level of beauty, the piece drones on with an ache that is palpable. On the closer 'Farewell' Othling couples his guitar with some pretty fair banjo playing, unusual I'm sure for the post-rock genre but it is effective here. While the work clocks at 33 minutes (longer than some classic RPI!) and feels complete enough to me to call 'an album', Othling calls it an EP so that is where we have placed it.

'Migratory Patterns' is a fascinating and successful piece of work which ties a great subject to music that tells the story almost completely without vocals. You are carried by this music as if you are following the lonely creature. I really like the weathered looking cover that reminds of some educational audio recording from the 60s or 70s, another in a series of fine album cover selections. You can purchase a high quality download of the album for only $3 at his website. (You can also stream the albums of Lowercase Noises, but I would suggest buying the two CD package which gives you Seafront and Carry Us. I have these and the artwork is great to have.)

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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