Indie Music, Reviews

Gentle Sounds From the Fabric of Life (Review)

July 5, 2010 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Gentle Sounds From the Fabric of Life (Review)on Twitter

Auditory Canvas is the moniker behind David Holmes. With three EPs under his belt, Fabric of Life represents the first album of this original and forward thinking producer. The curious blend of delicate electronics and stuttering rhythms featured in Fabric of Life sculpt a unique world of its own, combining dreamy textures and original ideas throughout the album’s ten tracks.

Additionally, the album aims not only to fund some worthy charities, but was funded itself via means of crowdsourcing via kickstarter.com. Crowdsourcing represents a way for fans and creators alike to fund and follow projects that interest them. As crowdsourcing is a large enough concept to warrant an article in its own right, I’ll leave that at the moment to move onto the tracks themselves.

Read on as we guide you trough the colours and forms of this canvas

The album begins with the echoing xylophone-heavy number, “Lost and Found.” I knew immediately when the bass kicked in that I was in for a special journey. The rich layers of orchestral strings and other acoustic elements found in this track and many others on the album counter yet complement the electronics, creating a unique aural texture. Next with “Spring Rain,” the IDM inspirations of Holmes becomes more apparent. A guitar plays a purposely stuttering melody which works to impose some rhythmic variation into the piece, keeping the listener’s interest among the minimalistic percussive and bass elements. It’s important to note that while many people may associate the IDM genre as a whole as somewhat random and unstructured, Holmes instills a sense of movement and direction into his works that demonstrates his skill in the style.

These same influences continue into“Jade,” which features an Eastern Asian melody coupled with Holmes’s signature experimental sound. Here I feel a slight increase of pace compared to the former tracks. This movement continues with “Fabrique,” which happens to be one of my favourite tracks here. Eventually this album reaches a natural breaking point as we venture into funkier territories with “Mystery Trip” which is much more break-beat oriented than previous tracks. This track would fit perfectly into a similarly funky platformer game.

Glitch takes a front seat once again with the mangled guitar sections in “Desert Sun,” but only for a brief moment before “Dusk Chant” takes us into something resembling new age music, sounding similar to artists like Enya.  While the piece didn’t keep my interest as much as previous tracks, I know many listeners will find it very beautiful and evocative. Delving even deeper into the unknown, “Lest we make it a mistake” features a recorded political speech which I found to be somewhat distracting against the musical backdrop, but it does provide the listener with some variation whether or not you agree with the commentary itself. “Chrysalis” thankfully returns us to the vibe found earlier, providing a repetitive and meditative backdrop with the same intelligent rhythms which is really one of the strongest aspects of Fabric of Life.

The album closes out with “Get green soothe,” which flies by with the return of political commentary, this time about ecology and the environment. The speech here is not nearly as distracting as it was with “Lest we make it a mistake,” and by the end of the track, I found myself left with the vision of an album which fulfils its potential as being dreamlike.

Fabric of Life is available in both digital and physical formats, with the physical release coming in a limited edition box and bag to compliment the music. As Peter Kirn from the highly influential blog Create digital music put it: “as the digital album evolves from strange plastic jewel cases into ephemeral download form, it’s evolving the other way, too.“ Fabric of Life can be purchased directly from Auditory Canvas’s own website, and to sweeten the deal even more, 10% of the proceeds go directly to the charity nextaid.org.

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