Philosopher's Stone

Apparatus

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Gareth Mitchell's second album in the Philosopher's Stone guise continues in the vein of the first, with the Amp musician creating a series of mysterious and often-muffled collages of feedback and textures over the course of an hour. The songs generally are longer on this release than on Preparation, relying more on individual parts being linked together instead of combined in overdubs. "Snake," with its shift from the core hum to what sounds like a rattle of glass beads to a final high, brief drone, is as representative of the album as anything else. "Confluence," meanwhile, concludes the album on a very Thomas K├Âner-like note, with haunting, low guitar tones standing in for the bowed cymbal work that defines that composer's approach. There's even more of an emphasis on subtle and slow constructions here, taking off on the occasional use of extended introductions and conclusions on Preparation. Thus, the buried clatter that eventually leads into the roiling buzz of "Komposition" as a whole, while the introduction to "Filament" -- another title that suggests a connection to Main as much as the music does -- is a barely audible, three-minute-long tone. Similarly, "An Apparition" itself only leaps to life after another extended silent (or near silent) introduction -- more than once it seems like the end of the disc has been reached based on what isn't heard. The rest of "Komposition" consists of sudden static glitches and equally minimal guitar notes, making it something close to a guitar equivalent of an IDM track in its own way. "Valeta" has even more of that feeling, thanks to the buried squelch of a tic-beat that could just as easily have come from a laptop owned by a Tigerbeat6 act rather than Mitchell's own particular sonic setup.

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