Wordclock – Endless

wordclock

[Reviewed by: vitriol]

Wordclock is a new project founded by Pedro Pimentel, the first release of which is the album “Endless” on Cryo Chamber. A different type of offering than what we are normally used to from this label, “Endless” is much more lighthearted than its predecessors. Already as the first track begins, we are welcomed by soothing, meditative tones and a relaxing atmosphere. A steady beat holds the rhythm while the ambient layers flow on top of one another, like undulating waves washing out on the shore. “It Ain’t A Bad Place”, the artist assures us, and I tend to agree. So let us take a closer look.

‘Wordclock’ is a complex technical term used to denote the electronic signal given to synchronize various devices. Between that and the album’s title, it’s probably safe to assume that the main concept here is time. Synchronization between the inner and the outer world; how time runs in our mind in opposition to how it is perceived in the ‘objective reality’. Synchronization of the innumerable individual entities – animate or inanimate – present in an urban environment. Or perhaps, the musician wishes to go even further and explore the nature of time itself.

Many tracks in the album are centered around this topic, such as the second track, “It’s late”; a ponderously melancholic track with the piano timed by various layers of rhythmic drums, and some atmospheric ambient passages hovering over the whole. With the third track, “Les Portes Du Silence”, the artist shifts the focus from the melodic, emotive blueprints of the first two tracks to the cinematic, narrative aspect of his music. And with this the sound becomes a little cloudy, allowing for its dark ambient visage to emerge. The rhythmic structures give way to a glacial dark ambient sequence with some metallic-sounding drones oscillating very quietly. The subtle hint of a melody. The sound of a telephone ringing, persistently breaking the silence. A communicational thread to be picked up in this mellow, clean, misty nowhere. The sound of footsteps walking through gravel or freshly fallen snow. Human voices, microphone announcements, distortions. A diversity of sounds escalating and deflating. This is a really impressive track that achieves a rich synthesis of multiple aural elements for the creation of a full narrative.

This darker streak of turmoil and disorientation, that nonetheless has lasted for more than twelve minutes, comes to an end with the next track, “Endless”, an elegant piano melody with just the slightest tinge of added elements. Sounds so faint they might as well not have been there at all. “Deeper” is another dark ambient-influenced track, although not as overwhelming as “Les Portes Du Silence”. The first half is dominated by what seems to be the sound of flowing water, some high-pitched drones and faint whispers. Then around 4:20 a slow, repetitive piano tune comes in, ominous and menacing. In the poignant minimalism of just this simple handful of notes and rustling sounds, the track fades into “The Night”: a male voice in a tedious recitation, among airy ambient passages and some static noise. Another one of those slow, moody piano melodies closes the track.

“Heart Of A City” as can be expected contains more electronic and industrial elements than the previous tracks; a clanging metallic sound measures the tempo while we hear voices all around – public microphones, radio emissions or other kinds of signals floating through the air. Placed just above the album’s close, this track gives a concrete idea of the environment the artist is trying to recreate. The journey was fulfilling, but also emotionally draining. “And Then The Dawn” comes like a much-needed rest after a tiresome flight, or a long drive around this city’s busy streets in the night. The soothing piano lulls us to sleep.

“Endless” feels like a moment frozen in time, forever the same yet constantly changing, the notions of past, present and future melting away into one another. Thousands of creatures living and breathing in this sci-fi metropolis, synchronized in suspended animation, like the tireless circuits of a supercomputer. Searching for musical comparisons I will not name one of Pedro Pimentel’s labelmates, but rather expansive ambient artists such as Steve Roach, Robert Rich or Max Corbacho. Elements of modern classical are fused with ambient, voice samples and field recordings, in a way that atmosphere and emotion are equally prominent and go hand in hand. It is evident from the first listen that, even though this is the project’s first discographic attempt, the musician already finds himself at a considerably high level. “Endless” doesn’t sound like a debut at all. It sounds like the work of an experienced musician, who knows exactly what he wants to convey and is confident about his ability to do so. I for one am surprised that Cryo Chamber chose to release this album, but the surprise is by all accounts a pleasant one. Hopefully we’ll see more of this artist’s releases in the future.

WordclockEndless
Cryo Chamber
Digital 2014

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