‘Supernaturalist’ review

Here’s an interesting review that appeared this month on the Heathen Harvest website:

Brian Lavelle is a project that is easily said to be hard to define. Desperation inevitably leads one to coin the experimental / avant-garde electronics tag but what I hear is something more deep and sensual than a simple frolic around the world of strange sounds and experimentation. Brian’s music isn’t a simple recording of jabbed buttons and crossed wires. There’s an apparent, intriguing skill and masterful art put into this release. The production follows a distinct flowing nature and does more to emphasize the fact that a great deal of time was spent on this recording than just about anything. It’s not dull and drab, overly compressed, or flat in any way. Supernaturalist sings to you in fragrant Earthly tongues without ever having or needing the presence of a vocalist. It breathes the tonal intricacy of our planet and has as much to do with the world through its field recordings as it does through its experimentation through manipulation and electronics. Strange and wonderful it is.

Somehow, Supernaturalist is, in a way, as depressing as it is sensual though. Layers of Earthly tones and images seem to hint at a time beyond humanity, a disappearing act in sound or a recording that somehow came back in the past from recorders accidentally recording from the escape of falling ruins. Melodramaticism aside, this release really does represent a kind of absence. A void. Whether this feeling manifested via the artist’s own feelings or a complete coincidence is unknown, but while there is warm air and falling leaves and all these tender textures to be felt and heard through the music, there is also a grand infinite hole behind it all, something swallowing the depths and emitting strong emotion. Its just very, very sad in a way. Supernaturalist also has a unique quality of time about it, drifting between different landscapes. From barren glacial plateaus to gentle waves on the beach with storm clouds on the horizon.

The human touch comes out in the sparse piano moments featured throughout the album. The key track in this aspect is the creative “Citadel”, but even the very name of the track commands visions of once-commanding fortresses, now ruined. The playful piano interweaving melodies in this track create a majestic display of human thought and a very strong sense of benign nature. There’s a particular kind of authenticity in this music. As some might call as “coming straight from the heart”, this music literally bleeds that phrase forth.

EE Tapes has seen quite a transformation over the years. From a modest tape label that saw its beginnings far back in the late 80’s, it grew towards the acceptance of at least the CD-R medium in the late 90’s, only to finally accept CD’s as a whole in in 2002-2003 (as well as changing its catalogue numbers from “ET##” to “EE##”. This release is an actual CD without the presence of a jewel case or typical CD artwork. Instead, the band / label opted for a white paper/plastic sleeve inside a folded 7”-styled artwork encasing. The paper is high-quality (recycled?) and has a natural graininess to it that suits the eerie artwork that was meant for a title such as Supernaturalist (though a pun on words may be intended here.) Brian Lavelle himself has done all of the photography and layout for this release so there is indeed a further artistic experience meant for the listener here simply beyond the music.

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