SOTNMS on the AMG All Music Guide
01/04/09 00:00 Filed in: Album reviews
Darkroom's 2008 album shows that the group's penchant for downbeat instrumental atmospherics has, if anything, increased in power with time. Certainly the layers of feedback and drone over the chilly, uneasy pulse of "The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes" sets what might on first blush seem to be the tone of the entire album, though unsurprisingly the duo have far more approaches at hand than simply melancholic contemplation. On a calmer but no less crushing note, the slow burn descending cascades of "Mercury Shuffle" feel like just that, an amble over an empty, still planet. Yet there are certainly moments of serene calm in contrast, often breathtakingly so. Hearing the lovely repeating tones and soft percussion of the title track calls to mind many comparison points, from Eno and Fripp to Michael Brook and beyond, but Darkroom give it their own entrancing spin, especially on the break. Meanwhile, "Two Is Ambient" feels more like an 'O'Rang number in the drums while a serene guitar requiem on the demi-melody, at once inviting and a little unsettling, adding further to the album's involved charm.