Not Gone Not Forgotten

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Though Rothko's sound is extremely sleep-inducing, it's anything but boring. Mark Beazely heads up this collective that performs live with three bass players. And this record compiles a series of the band's live recordings between 1997 and 2001, including their very first show at London's Hope & Anchor. Many of the tracks here are unreleased and consist of a great deal of improvisation. Slight voices slip in and out of the mix, most noticeably on "Parcel," which, at times, resembles the creeping hum of Low or Codeine. But usually the basses rule, creating a warm rumble of low-pitch elegance. They're not as minimalist as their name suggests (named after color-field painter Mark Rothko), but Rothko (the band) embraces their own ambience, never letting the strength of three bass guitars get the best of them. Even in the live setting, the band swims itself in reverb, creating whirls of endless echo and defining the expanse of space around them without ever getting too noisy. The record unfolds slowly and it takes a patient ear to appreciate it, but the pay-off is wonderful. Clashing rhythms erupt on "Time Out," allowing the band to break their self-imposed chains of subtlety. Rothko sheds new light on the neo-sentimentalist vein begun by the likes of Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Sigur Ros, weaving some incredibly intricate instrumental textures. The disc's title, Not Gone Not Forgotten, may suggest that somehow Rothko has become slightly removed from the growing post-rock scene. This idea couldn't be further from the truth.

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