[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Play this one when the fog is lying low to the ground and the mist is still in the air. Divine Rain have composed two engaging meditations on their surroundings which from what I can make out are menacing locales. You know how when you go out into your backyard after a massive storm and survey what’s changed and what you’ll be repairing later? Our pair of acoustical mavericks somehow finagled the very feel of massive electrical discharge into their works; this has been out now for a while and I’m just now getting down the particulars or was that particulates… this atmosphere is positively glistening with possibilities, the formless becomes fully formed and all throughout these murky compositions the specters wield their scepters. You are not in control of this realm, the only reason you even are aware it exists is coming out of your speakers.
When long-form material like ‘II/Orford Ness’ comes along there is always the temptation to view it in the context of background sound. Do not do this, allow what these two gentlemen have created to take center stage when listening. Now you could try to make out all the various nuances and shades of grey this release contains but I advise against it; a person will become quite lost in the depths Divine Rain are mapping. Take a seat and admire the view. These tracks are the lingering decay of time, they are the flecks of rust coming off long abandoned chains which reside on docks and in prisons abandoned long ago. Nothing stirs here, your thoughts form the only narrative; with the recriminations and resignations hanging heavily via rapturous reverb the cloud presses on.
Surveying, watching, waiting. A ceaseless quest to pierce the veil of their own personal unknown. I’ve heard some strange things in my time but the scope of Divine Rain’s ambitions and the methods they utilize to attain their goal definitely stand out; in simpler terms, this has been the reaction to what they do from my better half: “What’s that noise? Could you listen to that later or turn it down for now.”
Unsettling though they come across, their musical lexicon is a rich and diverse one which encapsulates numerous influences before devouring them from snout to tail. The easiest thing in the world would be to write this off as droning indulgence but then when has anything worth a damn been easy to understand; this is what they’d like most out of us I feel, that we take in their style (and it is one, have no doubts here cynics) and come to see it from their perspective. It is worth the effort to get to know them aloof and off-putting as these sorts of releases seem upon first inspection there’s a curiosity to what is going on here. On both sides.
Is there emotion here? That depends on you, what you get out of this album is contingent upon what you put in. It’s a hypothesis of mine which I’ve had for a while now that the reason so many dislike this sort of work is that they themselves are boring, pretentious and dull and not the other way around. You have to make the effort to meet them halfway on this bridge between realities they have built. Suspension of disbelief comes to mind here. We have a nebulous collection of sparks,sigils and subliminal signs to decipher here, I’m tempted to view Divine Rain more as code breakers who like their Bletchley predecessors have somehow cracked their own personal enigma and now parse out the decrypted messages via the electronic medium without instruction or explanation.
We press on.