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Well Song

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Album Review

Starting with shadowy drones and acoustic guitar strums won't really surprise anyone who knows from murky NZ experimentalism — neither will the increasingly frenetic build on the opening song — but the Nether Dawn's work on Well Song shows exactly why that general approach can appeal to start with. Given Antony Milton's liner notes about recording in a bunker on the North Island of that country, there's little surprise about the background clatter opening the title track, creating an appropriately claustrophobic feeling. But perhaps even appropriately given the title, "Still Watch the Sky" opens up the feeling of the album, with low drones at points sounding like what could almost be distant brass or strings building up into a swirl of rising sound that never quite resolves, but comes close before settling into a slow coda. Wordless or seemingly wordless vocals add keening melancholic near-romance at points, a sudden, overtly human touch amid the general cryptic flow. "Fools Sweet Ramble" is the most dedicated to near total float, a pause before the quiet quick-strum intensity of "Step Through the Night," echoing slow textures the counterpoint to Milton's guitar work. If Well Song is just one part of a larger body of work both in Milton's own catalog as well as the overall field of drone-inspired music to start with, it's still an engaging one.

Well Song, The Nether Dawn
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