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Album Review

Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words “11 Instances of Dead Letters + Words” [iDEAL]

cujo   12/15/2005   A Library, CD

The artist is actually one Swede named Thomas Ekelund (found oh-so-briefly in our library on an iDEAL sampler collection). This is a carefully crafted album of bleak metallic, mechanical recorded sounds thoroughly processed and looped through his computer, with the slightest touch of Eno-ish musical tones. The result is a shining example of the ambient/electronic ?lowercase? genre (I think), where emphasis is placed on empty spaces, quiet sounds, and introspective moods. The found sounds are heavily processed so as to sound a bit muffled, distant, fuzzy, or covered in felt. When I mention submarine engine sounds below, it’s as if they’re heard from an enemy submarine trailing 500 yards behind. Try not to get stuck deconstructing the all looping, sampling, processing, and the stereo effects, and just let the album wash over you. All tracks are distinct but may track together. This is definitely rainy day music.

1. Tell Laura I Love Her. (5:12): pulsing electronic hum.
2. Realign, then fall (2:10): a teacher grades math exams. paper shuffling and pencil scribbling, looped by a very keen ear.
3. A list of things (1:05): light metallic beating. someone watches you from a creaky rocking chair.
4. The hills are alive (6:10): metallic blocks of filtered found sounds delivered in stereo, almost melodious.
5. Settling dust (4:54): tinkering in the tool shed, metal strings get pulled taut. background activity is heard through covered ears.
6. Motions of inanimate objects (3:57): more tool shed tinkering, this time the foreground has a more pneumatic emphasis, or maybe it’s scraping.
7. Wires of Oh Dots (7:29):subterranean
8. Bird, Broken (2:34): someone in the next room has labored breathing. in the other room someone is trying to pick out a melody on the piano.
9. Dread (7:20): metallic washboard foreground, submarine engine whirring background
10. Last Words Anywhere (2:24): busiest track. stereoactive chorus of jackhammers.
11. Dead Letters Spell Out Alive (6:55): peaceful closing track, lethargic waves of slightly screechy metallic fuzz.

-Cujo, December 2005

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