Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Daturah - Reverie

Artist: Daturah
Album: Reverie
Label: Graveface
Year: 2008

01. Ghost Track
02. Hybrisma
03. 9
04. Deep B Flat
05. Vertex


I remember first hearing the trance-inducing debut from Germany’s Daturah a mere three years ago, and it being a turning point in my musical appreciation. I tried punk in my youth, turned to grunge, dabbled in grindcore, withstood drone, and finally settled on the mellow sounds of instrumental music. Through all this appreciation though, there was a thin sediment remaining from each (however brief) encounter. I like post-rock of course, but when it segues into the outer reaches of the predefined genre, that is when it becomes something different. A surprising amount of bands nowadays are sticking to the exact same formula that has earned earlier artists mass praise. What was different about Daturah's self-titled debut was that it was a heady and invigorating mix of traditional post-rock with a subtle but highly effective dash o’ drone. The difference in their second album, Reverie is that they now display but a fraction of that which made the first listen so appealing, opting instead to travel the dusty, overcrowded route of post-metal. I may be oversimplifying their sounds somewhat, but this is what struck me immediately.
After just under two minutes of strange sampled dialogue on opener "Ghost Track," a crushing guitar enters the mix and continues to pummel the listener, letting up only briefly for a few well placed Isis-like guitar delay/reverb moments before returning to aggressive form. While it is indeed a well crafted ambience, it does continue for twelve and a half minutes and even the best of bands can struggle to maintain interest after the first three or four repetitions of such a cycle. What becomes apparent after several listens is that the same fate that befell the first track is repeated throughout every piece on this album: quiet-loud gone mad!
Now for the flipside, I mean, yes it is formulaic and somewhat predictable, but then Mogwai have been doing the same thing for thirteen years now, and they still manage to avoid the rather cumbersome ‘boring’ tag. What Daturah have done here is to use their exceptional musicianship and compositional skill to make something rather clichéd into something rather impressive. The sheer textural intensity and finish on some of the melodies belie the simplistic formula followed to such an extent that it becomes almost negligible. "9" for instance sculpts such a beautiful landscape throughout that listening to it in full never feels like a chore, much like listening to the album in its entirety is nothing but rewarding. It’s always hard for me to rate an album that I only enjoy because it feels good at the time, but this is one of those. Has it been done before? Yes. Several times. Has it been done as well? Yes, both Isis and Pelican have been doing it for some time rather competently, in fact (with only a few exceptions). The thing is that it is still good despite its familiarity, and that’s what really makes this release for me. A triumph, of sorts.
-by Barry Smethurst(

Official site
Buy it (release on 28/3)

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