DECAYCAST Reviews: Proud/Father “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness” (Orb Tapes, 2018)
Proud/Father creates a tense, murky unsettling of ambient din on the A side of their newest album, “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness” on PA’s ORB TAPES. The side begins with a slow, gentle pulsing ambient tone which slowly evolves over time into washed out, thick waves of sonic fog. “The first side is a reflection of isolation, both physical and emotional, from depression and similar mental health disorders. ” quotes the releases bandcamp page, and the subtle, harmonic shifts seem to oscillate moods ever so slightly without ever jarring the listener out of a meditative, hypnotic state. Several layers of drone eventually give birth to lush, washed out, undulating vocal tones, or are they even? Proud/Father seamlessly blends multiple sources into a singular harmonious, but still unsettling buzzing, like the buzzing inside your body when anxiously awaiting a phone call where every second seems like an eternity and every far away sound oscillates as a precursor to something your unsure about and you can’t place your brain on why. P/F has mastered keeping us in a sonic stasis, whilst their shifting tones dance around an aura of confusion, with even a dab of resolve.
The B side “Al alejarme de casa recuerdos débiles se apagan” , according to the bandcamp page ” is an exploration of the fading Boricua culture and the history of Puerto Rican independence movements.”, and it begins with a choppy tense transmission, the sound of a message in a bottle being dragged through an underground cement tunnel ever so swiftly and softly as to not detect the unknowing above. The choppy radio static like noise transmissions quickly fold into more undulating, thick walls of ambient drone, a thick fog casts itself inside the ear and modulates our mere understanding of the sound’s orgin, we are left with an increasingly angrier and more aggressively articulated drone of unknown origin. What was once a singing drone has turned into an angry, whipping, radicalized wind, devoid of mission and geographical direction, just a thickness of tension and intention. Proud/Father continuously oscillates between drone, ambient, and soundscapes with swiftness, however compositionally things never seem rushed, always blending into each other with care and precision, P/F has crafted an ambient soundscape strategy to call all their own. For fans of The Shadow Ring, Tim Hecker, Beast Nest etc. Tapes are apparently sold out, though you can get the digital here, highly recommended.