Rothko

In the Pulse of an Artery

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AllMusic Review by

On their third outing the Rothko boys turn their bass-only sound into something of a beautifully seductive black hole of sound. Once you're in, forget it; the vibe is luxuriant and druggy, so sensually seductive and warm, you'll feel as if you are floating on a sea of muted blue clouds. Unlike their previous efforts, Rothko has added to their triple bass configuration only dimension by featuring Simon Raymonde's guitar on one track, "Imprint of Leaves," and keyboards on two more, "Time Out" and "Harold Budd." Each of Rothko's "songs" begins with a riff -- the band themselves don't know whether or not to call what they compose a song or not -- which becomes a textured riff, which becomes a layered riff, which blasts off into the unknown. What is so potent about In the Pulse of an Artery, particularly the tracks previously mentioned, is how the sense of harmonics and dynamics are balanced within tunes. No single player dominates, and each slips in and out of the mix tenderly or explosively. After their last foray into vocal territory, Rothko returns to instrumental waters here. "Harold Budd" samples the composer's theme from By the Dawn's Early Light and adds an atmospheric coat that opens it up out of the silvery warmth it formerly enjoyed and carries it into territory that hovers above, simply padded, in a lilting sonic undress. "Moments Cracked Open" moves from the belly of the riff into the careening wide open blue with feedback, tension, and the three principals straining to remain melodic while giving in to the power of electricity. In all, though the record is brief, little more than a half hour in length, it is nonetheless plenty and leaves listeners a bit disoriented, unwillingly dragged back into everyday life, but longing to return to the sonic ether from which they emerged.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
3:49
2
4:44
3
3:18
4
2:32
5
3:19
6
4:23
7
4:23
blue highlight denotes track pick