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Alms

Re:

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Album Review

Given the connection between re: and Godspeed You Black Emperor! (one half of re:, Ian Ilavsky, is a co-founder of GSYBE!'s label, Constellation), it should come as no surprise that this record incorporates a collection of infinitely building noise-scapes, focused on the hiss of white noise. But what makes it truly intriguing is the rhythmic pining that takes the form of steps-through-the-ceiling clump ("On Golden Pond"), machines-in-the-distance echo ("Golem") and even Speedy J-styled industrial-techno breaks ("Orientalism as a Humanism" and "Radio Free Ramadi"). Given the diversity of "beats," it is wrong to corner this project with MIT professor Aden Evens as mere ambient. "Pawk" even offers a taste of melody via some gentle piano played towards the lower register. But it comes as a continuation of the chirping fancy of the appropriately titled "Lasers, Tracers, Radar Drones." Alms is at its best when it mutates the sound of endless metal scrapes and evolves into a sturdy industrial clang, but the shorter songs that pad out the extended cast iron dirges make it a far more interesting listen.

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