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Darkroom: Gravity’s Dirty Work

Album Review

Enveloping, darkly ambient electronics from improv-based duo.

Drawing from experience with No-Man, Henry Fool, Bass Communion and numerous improvisational live projects over the last 17 odd years, Darkroom are a safe, stylish pair of hands in the avant-electronica department.

And in case that doesn’t sound cerebral enough, guitar/pedal/loop/bass man Michael Bearpark has even squeezed in a chemistry research fellowship at Imperial College. But abandon any fears of inaccessibility – Gravity’s Dirty Work is fabulously pensive and experimental, but invitingly so. 

Strung With Black Nylon opens on a clean, crisp and creepy note, paving the way for minimal but potent guitar surges, propelled by electronics that judder and swerve you into a mysterious, ambient trance. There’s something strangely stimulating about being deeply relaxed and slightly unnerved at the same time. The cool, spooky tones of Baby Armageddon and Memorianova conjure a ‘haunted lighthouse’ feel. 

And for all the wires involved this retains an organic heart — with ominously pulsating, percussive basslines and upbeat samples providing a kind of tribal electronica beat. It all makes for a totally transportive and progressive mind clearer of an album.

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