Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rothko - Eleven Stages of Intervention

Rothko started as a three bass group playing low frequency hymns to meditation and solemnity (albums with that lineup forthcoming). In this album the lineup changed, with leader Mark Beazley adding Caroline Ross (of Delicate AWOL, another awesome group you should check out) and adding a more diverse instrumental palette, but still keeping that nebulous, melancholic sound. Just two basses on this one though. For shame!

"Rothko are one of those bands that whenever I play their albums I wonder why I don't play them more often. They have a very specific, very unique sound - probably coming from the fact that they have two bassists, and now on their fifth full-length they have honed this sound into a quiet perfection. We all had a real soft spot for the incredible collaboration with vocalist Caroline Ross a few years back, and this is the band's next step and takes their sound into deeper and darker places. There's something almost religious about the band's take on music - there are hints of post rock in there, hints of modern classical, hints of classic soundtrack music, but it feels like the London-based band are playing the whole thing in a church, with all the sounds reverberating and swirling into a reverential haze. It's like a more melancholy, more muted Godspeed You! Black Emperor, without the hint of post-rock cliché, or at times even like Southern Lord's slow rockers Earth without the metallic subtext - this is cinematic and evocative music in the best possible way. Okay so the band might not be doing anything particularly new, especially in regards to their already bumper catalogue of quality releases, but what they have done here is hone their sound and keep it gloriously economic. There's little fat or filler on offer here, just forty minutes of low-slung, bass heavy instrumental goodness - and what more can we ask than that? Fans of Deaf Center should also take a closer look here, Rothko share a similar taste for the dark and the surreal, and frame it in a beautiful mist of graceful, measured restraint. Quite hauntingly beautiful... recommended!" - Boomkat

Rod Carew

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