Published on Friday, 08 April 2016 14:23
Album title: Sinter Pools
Release date: 14 March 2016
Label: Malignant Antibody
01. Sinter Pools
04. Underground Man
07. 12 Minutes
Ionophore return for their sophomore release Sinter Pools on Malignant Records' off-shoot Malignant Antibodies. This album encompasses a vast array of musical genres and seems to bring influences from all over the place musically. Some genres this album touches on could be atmospheric, experimental, ambient, dark ambient, industrial, noise, post-rock, and neo-classical to name a few. All these sounds come together for a cohesive album which immediately grabs the listeners' attention and manages to hold it through to the last moment.
The three artists in this project Leila Abdul-Rauf, Jan Hendrich, and Ryan Honaker are all multi-instrumentalists with a lot of experience in various genres. Leila Abdul-Rauf is back after her critically acclaimed solo album, Insomnia on Malignant Records, which happened to have guest appearances by both Jan and Ryan. This time around the music has less of the dark ambient feel and takes a more natural and lively approach. With Leila Abdul-Rauf's vocals giving each track a highly ethereal feel, something almost similar to Portishead at times, we are able to look deeper into her mind and enjoy the beautiful and poetic vocals presented in Sinter Pools. Yet these vocals often have a very dark hazy dreamlike approach. Add to this haziness the warped trumpet, violin, and piano pieces and the album begins to take on a form that is similar to Bohren & Der Club of Gore or The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. I can almost imagine myself sitting in some dark club at midnight in the center of Dark City enjoying this performance. Other styles seem to emerge from these tracks at times, certain sections give me the same lo-fi sensations as tracks by Animal Collective and other psychedelic indie-rockers, while others seem to tap into that west coast gothic vibe which has recently been brought to the spotlight by Chelsea Wolfe.
From top to bottom Sinter Pools is bursting with creativity and a slightly obscured beauty. Its almost as if the album cover art has tapped into this idea, with what appears to be a gorgeously serene snowy mountain range, almost fully obscured by what may or may not be clouds. Tracks like "Underground Man" and "12 Minutes" tap into the distorted ambient soundscapes most often found in post-rock acts like This Will Destroy You or Explosions In The Sky. That ability to start off with a gently relaxing beat and ambience and then effortlessly progress into a distorted cacophony with a highly industrial edge is constantly simmering just below the surface of Sinter Pools.
As you can guess from my wildly broad spectrum of comparisons here, Sinter Pools really appears to be the sort of album that could appeal to a lot of different sorts of listeners. There is a little something here for almost everyone. My only gripe with Sinter Pools is that it is a bit short, coming in at only 38 minutes total, I would have liked to hear Ionophore linger in some of these soundscapes for a bit longer. It often seems while listening that just as I'm really sinking deep into the sounds, the album is reaching its close. This is only a small issue for me however, as each of the tracks presented here is meticulously crafted into perfection.
Review written by: Michael