Cerberus Shoal - Elements Of Structure/Permanence
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Cerberus Shoal
Elements Of Structure/Permanence
(Stella White)

Instead of going after their newest release, I instead went backwards after hearing the album Homb by Cerberus Shoal. Although they had an even newer release entitled Crash My Moon Yacht (that I'm sure I'll get around to buying and reviewing here at some point in the future), I went back in their catalogue to their very first recording and got that instead. I wanted to see how much they'd progressed or whether they started out in a different place and then moved in the direction that they were now headed with things.

As it turned out, their first 'real' recording is actually kind of similar to what they're still doing, although in even a bit more loose and freewheeling kind of way. Elements of Structure/Permanence is basically just a recorded jam session of improvised soundtrack music created for films by Tim Folland. While the group has been known to do longer tracks, these are the longest ones they've ever done and the release clocks in at over 50 minutes for only 2 tracks.

Stylistically, there are a lot of the same sorts of themes that come into play on this release as compared with Homb. 7 people make up the band and although they don't get into playing as many interesting instruments as they do on the newer release (although an accordion, charango, theremin, and a bit of sampled voice make their way into the mix), there's still a definite middle eastern feel to a lot of the arrangements that the group has put together. The difference is that they've created the sounds with a bit more traditional instruments like the standard drum kit/bass/guitar trio and splashes of other things like piano and the above mentioned instruments.

As you may or may not guess by the length of the tracks, this is most definitely a wandering release. Although there are moments where they pull things together just a bit tighter for parts that almost rock, mainly it's an album in which different themes are created and then repeated in different instruments and weave together in very slow and meandering ways. Like a slow motion jam session that adds layers and then takes them away in very subtle ways and is always changing very slightly. In that same way, it's also a very relaxing release and if you're a fan of the newer material that the group has done, I can't imagine that you wouldn't like this. It's a little less focused, but that very thing also makes it nice for listening to on certain occassions. It has some of the same qualities of some electronic ambient music, but is obviously more organic. Aimless, but pretty good nonetheless.

rating: 6.7510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00