Karl Sölve Steven and Rob Thorne: Black Coast Vanishings (Rattle/digital outlets)

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Karl Sölve Steven and Rob Thorne: Black Coast Vanishings (Rattle/digital outlets)

A slow year for the otherwise prolific Rattle label out of Auckland which usually clocks up at least a dozen releases annually and sometimes considerably more.

But this album is their first of 2024, and the year is getting close to the halfway point.

No one need have seen the recent documentary series from which these 13 pieces were adapted by the two co-writers Steven and Thorne (on synths and piano, taonga pūoro and guitars respectively) because the chilly atmospherics – with cello, viola and violin – conjure up the mysterious disappearances which have taken place along the black sands of the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand.

Here is an unearthly place of wind and desolation punctuated by strange bird calls or eerie sounds (Loop Walk), a spiritual loneliness turned into unearthly ambient sound (Scanning the Horizon), small suggestions of resolution (Korenga, Tesselations) and mostly a world of monochrome fading into black.

Music of unease for a series which evoked exactly that.

Play with the lights off.

Or on, maybe.

.

You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here.


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