Arkitekchur - Should... Or The Drawing Boarded Colour Target...
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Arkitekchur
Should... Or The Drawing Boarded Colour Target...

The full length of the title of this release is, Should... Or The Drawing Boarded Colour Target Future Theater War(s). After reading that, you may be thinking to yourself, "jeebus, who in the hell does this group think they are, anyway?" Honestly, I was wondering the same thing, and after seeing song titles like "[Cicadea, Birds &&& Squirrels w/]" and "(For T h y)Dark Blae" (their punctuation), the pretension bells started clanging around my head and I hoped that the release wasn't an exercise in crazy punctuation and vague phrasing that in turn acts as a way to defract shortcomings in the music.

Although their music doesn't really have anything in common with them, Arkitekchur has something in common with Godspeed You Black Emperor in that they're a (largely) instrumental band that obviously has a heavy political leaning. The liner notes of the release are packed with pictures of middle-eastern kids holding guns, a girl from Afghanistan who was killed by a bomb blast, and other disturbing imagery. The front of the booklet is a picture of soldiers walking by what is obviously a unique piece of abandoned architechture (in either Afghanistan or Iraq, and the first picture on the inside of the booklet is an overhead shot of Ground Zero in New York.

Like GYBE, what the listener gleans from the music is on a purely individual basis. The album is just over 70 minutes of electro-acoustic drone/ambient music that is sometimes haunting and occasionally uplifting. After a found-sound sample, "Rite Words" opens the release with a guitar melody that loops out for a span of nearly 15 minutes. Musically, only a few other subtle bits find their way into the track, as a warm drone and a touch of delay simply don't add enough to the track and it goes on for far too long. Fortunately, the album fairs better in other places. "[Parkechildren w/]" mixes gurgling electronics with the sound of kids playing on squeaky playground equipment while the aforementioned "(For T h y)Dark Blae" follows it up with a warm drone that dissolves into fitfull lowend right before it falls apart. Unfortunately, the combined length of the previous two tracks is just over 2 minutes, and after a couple more solid tracks (including the excellent dark manipulate drone of "Jealousy"), it again drops off into several long tracks.

Perhaps part of the point of "How To Pray Using The Mysteries Of Light Theme" is that it does go on for so long, but at 23 minutes it can be a bit of a test. There are definitely some great ideas explored within, as drums that sound like they were recorded in a warehouse mix with a submerged kick drum under guitars that are delayed out to the horizon line while the sounds of a cityscape blend in and give the whole thing a gloomy lo-fi feel of doom. It's thunderous at times, and feels like the last breath of a building about to collapse. "When Everything Runs Dry" works in some of the same ways, letting huge ripples of guitar fold over on top of one another until the whole thing turns into a huge, shuddering beast. In the end, the release is a bit hit-or-miss, and you'd be hard-pressed to even hear it as something political if you took away the surrounding artwork. If you're a fan of heavy ambient music and/or dark dronescapes, you'll most likely find some things to enjoy, but otherwise you might find yourself a bit tested.

rating: 6.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-08-21 00:00:00