Half Makeshift

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Aphotic Leech (2007), 7/10 (mini)
L'Anse Amort (2007), 6.5/10
Omen (2008), 7/10

Half Makeshift, the project of Maryland's sound designer Nathan Michael, was devoted to glitchy electronic post-rock based on piano and guitar manipulations.

The project debuted with the massive 35-minute post-doom expressionist nightmare of Aphotic Leech (Utech, 2007). Marimba and piano intone a simple duet, but suspense is created by an ugly vibrating drone in the background. As if intimidated, the instruments stop playing and we mostly hear glitchy noises in an eerie vacuum. Cryptic crackling drones seep through the warped spacetime. It is just a matter of time before they give birth to a monster riff. Only the ending is disappointing: a return to calm and silence, perhaps a metaphor for a confused, chaotic race that is destined for self-destruction.

A more laid-back mood permeates L'Anse Amort (20 Buck Spin, 2007), whose four pieces, based on minimalist repetition, are set in an unstable but fundamentally more humane noisescape. The slow, enchanted progression of the 17-minute The Whale's Heart picks up debris along the way, and one can feel the tension increasing, setting the stage for the gritty guitar riff that rips the repetitive melody apart. Oblivion mostly toys with ocean sounds. L'Anse Amort is the piece de resistance: soothing new-age music followed by a stormy guitar eruption followed by a serene sunny tide (of strings and piano).

The four-movement drone-based requiem for humankind Omen (Profound Lore, 2008) highlighted the meditational aspect of Michael's music. The first movement begans with a dark cycling drones, but then opens up with a tender guitar melody that keeps growing but then morphs into an ugly think drone littered with terrifying explosions before returning to the guitar-only atmosphere of the beginning. The second movement pits a booming bass drone against a mounting background hiss; the collision hatches a fluttering pattern that, again, implodes into an apocalyptic vision of detonations and disintegration. The third movement picks up that pathos and sends it to a higher orbit, turning a piano sonata into an anguished galactic drone. The tone is funereal as the fourth movement begins expanding its repetitive pattern. The music eventually dies out, a piano strumming a few notes in an empty room, nothing much left to talk about.

All of them were produced by James Plotkin. Convinced that the end of the world will be coming in 2011, Michael stopped recording music.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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