Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Encomiast-Self-Titled Lens Records

February 1, 2008

Encomiast – Self-Titled

Lens Records

A landscape of soundscapes that will either leave you with the creeps or leave you with boredom.

Dark, ambient soundscapes are exactly that: long, droning sounds with minimal variation. Such a genre either intrigues the listener or puts them off completely. I am of the first.

Encomiast is not something that one decides to casually put in the stereo to listen to while driving. The album sounds like the alternate soundtrack for Eraserhead, and is perfectly eerie, like an industrial machine that has been haunted. Encomiast feels more like a resume of soundscapes than an album: a few tracks in and the album is exhausting. Listening to isolated soundscapes does not leave much room for variation in flavor when the theme has been pre-determined.

The album starts off with “Aesthesia,” which is near three minutes in length. The tracks get progressively longer until “Concupere,” which lasts approximately 28 minutes. “Concupere” starts off without enticing the listener, and it is not until the last half that it gets interesting. It feels simply like two tracks combined together, and, if shortened, it could have been one of the best pieces. However, the best tracks on the album are “T-Zero” and “Amnios.” “T-Zero” is long enough for the soundscapes to flesh out without giving the listener the urge to press the fast forward button. With “Amnios,” Encomiast saves the best for last with a track that is grandiose and mystical.

Encomiast, if nothing else, is a very unique project. How does one decide if dark, ambient soundscapes sound good? The album is more similar to a piece of performance art than it is a piece of music, and must be judged like one.

– Tim Wallen

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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