Fovea Hex - Bloom EP
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Fovea Hex
Bloom EP
(Die Stadt)

Fovea Hex is a release that may have flown under the radar of some listeners, despite the damn-near all-star lineup that have contributed. Brian Eno, Carter Burwell (soundtrack artist, most notable for his work with the Coen Brothers), Roger Eno, and Andrew McKenzie (Hafler Trio) have all come together to create the first in what is supposed to be a several-part series for the collective. Comprised of only 3 songs that span just under twenty minutes, it's an amazing little release, calling to mind everything from the Winter Solstice EP (with vocals from Rose McDowell) release from Coil to other vocal-centric drone and ambient work.

"Don't These Windows Open" starts the disc with what sounds like little more than swirling vocals floating around on sparse notes of fretless bass while singer Cloadagh Simonds adds vocals that sound like they could have come out of a British/Irish folk song. "We Sleep You Bloom" progresses much as the title suggests, starting out slowly with synth pulses and other subtle layers of viola and piano before it peaks with several small and gorgeous builds and finally dissolves again back into dark drones.

The closing track of "That River" is the probably the most straightforward, with multiple layers of harmonium and the vocals of Simonds building steadily until they collapse into field recordings and soft washes. Other than the vocals, it's hard to tell where the contributions of everyone in the group begin and end (although the liner notes help sort that out), as the recordings are very subtle and slowly-shifting (best suited for headphones or full-bodied stereo listening). As always with Die Stadt, the packaging is quite lovely, and after hearing this, I'm curious as to what the artists will conjure up next.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2006-01-05 21:32:50