BOLTLP014: Midnight Dome
Release date: 24th November 2011
CD and Digital
THIS RELEASE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE FROM THE BOLTFISH CATALOGUE ON CD. HOWEVER, YOU CAN STILL PURCHASE IT VIA DIGITAL DOWNLOAD FROM A RANGE OF ONLINE RETAILERS.
Obfusc returns to Boltfish Recordings with a stunning new album.
"Lost in waves of low-tones and memories from childhood, these foggy windows reveal early 90′s era Warp fragments; bass-beats, subtle melodic bursts, underwater meanderings, manipulated guitars and gentle instrumentals leaves Midnight Dome in a field of its own." - Igloomag
All tracks © Obfusc/Boltfish Recordings 2011
Mastered by Steve Depalo
"Midnight Dome" is Obfusc's third album release, offering a development of sound and style from his previous albums 'Internal Countryside' and 'Cities of Cedar', with a flowing fusion of tracks and ambient elements.
Midnight Dome is a progression for the artist in terms of both production and presentation. Each track segues perfectly into the next, enhancing the listening experience with a seamless flow that meanders between more concrete beat-based melodic tracks and ambient washes and textural interludes. In the
artist’s own words:
Working ambient interludes into the sequence, building them from field recordings of fragments of memory -- friends laughing on a beach at night, stomping down volcanic rocks in Iceland, rough takes of guitar recordings from who-knows-when -- makes it much more of a personal experience for me. I like to be able to tell someone I care about, "Remember the sea lions that we stumbled upon in Oregon?" That sound is buried deep, but it's there. It immortalizes some of my favourite moments of the last couple of years, a period of intense personal growth and self-realization.
The album is available digitally or as a limited edition CD release packaged in a bespoke, laser-cut acrylic case including a printed booklet.
"Brooklyn-based photographer/graphic designer Joseph Burke first emerged under his Obfusc alias back in 2006 with his debut album Internal Countryside. Since then, he’s continued to explore an introspective blend of post-rock instrumentation and subtle downbeat electronics, incorporating found sounds and field recordings ranging from rainfall and traffic, to sea lions roaring and the sound of friends laughing on a beach at night.
Four years on from his Cities Of Cedar collection, this third download-only album Midnight Dome sees Burke continuing to fit sonic fragments of his own life into lush, yet intimate, instrumental productions, with the ten tracks collected here evoking a personal travelogue or diary perhaps more than anything else.
There’s certainly a sense of effortlessly ebbing forward motion that underpins this entire album, with ‘Hologram Grip’ gently fading from the opening sound of car tyres on rain-strewn streets into shimmering blurry layers of chiming guitar and wandering warm synth tones. The angular drum programming below this introduces a sense of Krautrock-informed flow that sits somewhere between Harmonia and the Thrill Jockey label. ‘Oceanic Glow’ meanwhile sees arpeggiated guitar tones stretching out to form a dreamy web of textures against dry-sounding live snare shuffles and blissfully trailing ambient synths, the burnished-sounding guitar textures adding a welcome rough edge that nicely grounds the more dreamy electronics. ‘Rust In Your Hair’ takes things further out into ambient minimalism as an opaque, circular keyboard figure loops endlessly against dubbed-out layers of field recordings, the occasional ripple of recognisable human voices rearing its head amidst what sounds like the pitched-down sound of ocean waves. Elsewhere, ‘Inverted Island’ sees the closest thing to an electro pulse to be found here, shifting to the forefront as woozy layers of analogue synths push things out into an introspective fugue, before delayed-out guitar ripples finally drag things out of their wide-eyed reverie.
All up, Midnight Dome offers up a gorgeously intimate and personal headphone journey that just gets better with repeated listening."
Translated from original French Review
"While this is already his third album on Boltfish Recordings, it's only the first time that Obfusc has been mentioned on these pages. In fact, we hadn't paid attention to his first two feature-length formats and it is only through a 7-inch released two years ago on Static Caravan (entitled inverted Island ) that we discovered this New Yorker.
Seduced by his melodic electronica, we're listening to an album length release that successfully mixes electronic inputs (rhythm, melody) with real contributions (snippets of female vocals on some tracks - Hologram Grip, Language Of Memory - cleverly incorporated electric guitar and well rounded bass notes). While the former constitutes the base of each track, the latter gives them more body (Oceanic Glow, Inverted Island) and rounds off a perfectly coherent disc.
Furthermore, to strengthen the latter, Joseph X. Burke wrote his tracks so that the transition from one to the other is almost imperceptible, leading the listener in a sort of continuous thirty-six minute journey. Just a few tracks are exceptions to the stronger characteristics of most, as Our Signals Coalesce silences the bass and beats or Endless Rhyme which, logically enough, closes the album in a bright arrhythmia. At the end of this LP-format, we're fully convinced by Obfusc, almost ashamed at not having considered the talent of this musician sooner."
"Tasty looking thing is this. It’s a CD in a hinged (with a proper screw) laser cut acrylic case designed by David Tagg which looks sweet! This is why and how the physical format will continue to plough on (in diminishing numbers) but there will always be people out there wanting lovely looking things like this. Lovely sounding too I might add! The opener kicks off with a Boards meets Schnauss melodic electronic type number complete with sea and bird samples. The album continues in a similar vein with some tasty chunky beats and some thoroughly bright deep bass. Nice melodic electronics and there’s even the odd guitar popping up here and there. There’s a nostalgic vibe running through the album but that might be cos it reminds me of late ‘90s electronica. It’s eminently listenable and being there’s only 65 copies I don’t expect these to hang around too long!"
"After an initial intro of some rushing water, ‘Hologram Grip’ sounds vital as soon as its motorik rhythm is joined by a mysterious electronic melody and when layers of guitar and voice samples are added, the effect is a favourable comparison with those masters of instrumental intrigue, Boards Of Canada. ‘Oceanic Glow’ also recalls the 1990′s ambient folk sounds of Ultramarine. Album highlight ‘Our Signals Coalesce’, meanwhile, cleverly shifts soundscapes with twanging guitars and it’s that juxtaposition between “real” instruments and beats which is the key to Burke’s best work.
Perhaps another key to the success of ‘Midnight Dome’ is its seamlessness, with each track effortlessly drifting in to the next, often linked via those aforementioned rushing water effects. Naturally, it’s also embedded with atmospheric and evocative music which makes the listening experience thoroughly involving."
Lost in waves of low-tones and memories from childhood, these foggy windows reveal early 90′s era Warp fragments; bass-beats, subtle melodic bursts, underwater meanderings, manipulated guitars and gentle instrumentals leaves Midnight Dome in a field of its own. Utilizing creative sound imagery in its duration, Obfusc presents mysterious voids that are subdued yet omnipresent. Wrapping your ears around these delicate pulses tend to keep the unconscious brain in a constant state of flux. While this venture into experimental strains is soothing, it’s the shifting of musical gears that keeps the entire package adrift. Ambience tied to thumping electronic motifs, the entire package is subdued and audibly satisfying. Fans of Legion Of Green Men’s Spatial Specific will easily gravitate towards Midnight Dome‘s bidirectional sonic beauty."