Ben Winch's Album Review
What is Reassemblage? An oriental garden of Tom-Waitsian windchimes and My Singing Monsters percussion (“Mask”, at least in its main section, before it slides into autotuned harmonies and ambient organ-wash coda). Or, as in “Terazzo” (the standout track on first listen, along with the haunting vocal-led “Valve (Revisited)”), a sad-happy synth sunrise sliced abruptly and reassembled, with distant dripping taps and tolling organ-bell strafed by shuffled cards, before dissolving as if in disarray. Everywhere is dilating-and-shrinking twinkling tactile noises. At times—say in “Mimesis”—Visible Cloaks seem to have done little more than switch on the arpeggiator, and set off spiralling synth-squeaks at hard-left and hard-right to tickle the ears. Even then, though, there’s evolution: the “songs” (such as they are) never loop for long, and frequently break down and reassemble (that word again) in unexpected ways. (As I write, for eg, “Mimesis” is fading into reverb, and thrashing apart like snaking live wires—this, after it had already splattered into tinkered toddler-tumbling notes on a squelchy soft electric piano.) True, the overall effect of this is, at first, to make it seem like a melange—like a busy long vista of soundchecking synths, or a multi-voiced conversation in an alien tongue. Still, as a beguiling-not-infectious solution to sonic distraction this semi-random texture is effective (in a cafe, say, when you’re scribbling away in a notebook), and I find Reassemblage invaluable for that reason. Unlike much “ambient” music, it’s intricate and elaborate, and (in the gaps between sentences, say, or when you’re thinking on the next one) it invites you to wander, out along its long lush tendrils to a warm/spectral horizon. Strange language—not to say gibberish—these voices may be speaking, but their message is empowering: a sense of play, of the sensual, of sound-for-sound’s-sake is all they’re conveying. A (subtle) revolution.