Gargle & Bosques de mi Mente
Collaborations are nothing new with many songs in the charts these days featuring guest artists but an entire collaborative album is a rare thing, something many would assume just would not work with different genres/artists having different ideas about how things should sound. Though ‘Absence’ is a collaborative album and it is one that works being nothing short of brilliant and very different to pretty much everything else out there right now.
Gargle are a post-rock ambient duo from Japan and Bosques de mi Mente is a Spanish contemporary classical composer. The band wrote to the composer then subsequently shared a stage in Madrid in 2011. From that they set about collaborating on one track for Gargle’s upcoming release but with so many ideas flowing and a working atmosphere that suited both sides well they carried on even further and the result is this 9 track album ‘Absence’.
The whole thing opens with the sound of a bell tolling, quite an ominous start to the beginning of an album but with the opening track called ‘Bell’ it definitely fits the bill. Echoed guitar and dramatic piano chords create a wonderful and slightly creepy atmosphere. The piano calms to just tinkle along in the background with strings adding to the drama, it is the sort of song you would imagine in a film soundtrack to add to the suspense of a scene, a wonderful way to open.
Soft piano sounds are one of the main traits running throughout this wonderful album like on second track ‘Snow Storm’ where it’s layered to create a fuller sound that sits against the rumble of deep, distorted guitar; going from dramatic quickness to relaxing, flowing moments of calm is a huge juxtaposition of tempo but it works really well. When the piano quickens up it still manages to retain the beautiful melodies giving the impression of snow falling to Earth. Then there’s ‘A Sudden Lapse of Joy’ with retro-tinged riffs vying for your attention against the gentle piano while bells and the sound of children playing mark the halfway point; a track to close your eyes and listen to.
There is a French feel to some of this album through the use of accordion which transports you to the streets of Paris and the quietness that can be found between the rushes of capital city life. It is something found on ‘(The Triumph of the) Flight of the Last Bird on Earth’ and ‘Echoes of our Memories’. The former with calming prolonged violins, atmospheric sounds and tinkling xylophone that together create a beautiful instrumental track with a haunting end. While the latter has a slow start that sort of plods around and drip drops like water droplets of rain hitting a river, there is a brilliant melody coming from the piano set against high-pitched plucked guitar strings.
Drawn out violin that creates a flowing musicality can be found on ‘The Moment Our Glances Almost Met’ which though instrumental you can instantly tell is a love song through the tonality of the track from dramatic percussive build up’s to delicate piano lines. While ‘We Are Running Out of Time’ is full of deep haunting sounds, reminiscent of chanting monks, and fluctuating electronics that are added halfway through under that soft piano so predominant throughout.
Huge drums and crashing cymbals bring in ‘Life and Death of a Spoken Word’, it’s an emotional piece of music with the ambience of Gargle and the classical music of Bosques de mi Mente portrayed so wonderfully throughout. Violin is another commonplace feature on this album and with the beautiful sound the instrument creates it is understandable why it is relied upon so much to create stunning sounds. Found on final track ‘When Light and Motion Collide’ set against atmospheric electronics and low bass, the tolling bell is back as are the chanting monk sounds which gives drama to end this really rather stunning body of work on.
Watch the trailer for the album below: