AMN Reviews: Randal Collier-Ford – The Architects (2015; Cryo Chamber)

A compelling factor present in the music of Randal Collier-Ford is how he manages to straddle the line between dark ambient / drone and processed electroacoustic sounds. Indeed, there is more than a nod toward acousmatic and musique concrete pioneers herein. While The Architects is one of his older releases, it is a prime example of how listenable this unconventional approach can be.

Each of the eight tracks, varying from 4 to over 13 minutes, explores various points on this axis. To that end, Eye of the Watchers offers slowly brooding synth layers accompanied by intricate mechanically-oriented sounds. On the other hand, Construction of a Demon focuses primarily on sculpted samples, found objects, and electroacoustic percussive elements, perhaps representing the tools and processes of an infernal workshop.

But where Collier-Ford really shines is in his use of suffocating and jarring blasts of noise as a recurring feature across multiple tracks. These bassy drum / synth bursts form as slow-moving staccato shock waves in A New Age and The Return. They accentuate the aforementioned drones and percussion in a decidedly cinematic fashion. While some of the other pieces might be described as at least somewhat ambient, these tracks are decided not.

The Architects is a highly recommended effort from an underappreciated source.

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