We asked Trevor what 3 releases have influenced him as a solo musician, focusing more on his ambient and experimental music side.
Godflesh – Pure
Nowhere is this dichotomy as perfectly articulated as it is in the song ‘Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ – drenched in ethereal reverb and some drunkenly swirling textures in the background, the song ruptures the whip tight density of the preceding songs, veering the album’s trajectory off a cliff where it soars into the abandon. The song sports some of the group’s most memorable guitar melodies, played as a series of harmonics over a propulsive rhythm section. By the time the CD bonus tracks conclude – the trudging psychedelic minimalism of ‘Love, Hate (Slugbaiting)’ and the epic, nihilistic dark-ambience of ‘Pure II’ – the album has transformed from a simple act of genre defiance to personal artistic manifesto over the course of three songs (in all fairness, the three songs comprise 38 minutes).
Birchville Cat Motel – Gunpowder Temple of Heaven
Considering the insanely prolific discography the project had (the sole entity behind Birchville Cat Motel, Campbell Kneale, has retired the moniker and now records as Our Love Will Destroy the World) I have more than a few favorite albums (Chi Vampires, Sprang a Great Stallion…, and the namesake for his current project are all standouts). But the one that has been the most enlightening and inspirational to me is without doubt Gunpowder Temple of Heaven, a 40 minute longform composition that demonstrates the immense power that patience can yield when composing and performing abstract music. The album opens with a noisy organ drone and feedback; layers of organ emerge, building into a harmonically rich, blissful drone. For a long while it feels like the album is simply riding this simple droning chord to the end, which would indeed make for a satisfying listen, but then a simple bass melody emerges about a third of the way in and grants the piece forward motion, suddenly imbuing the rich texture with a strong emotional resonance. Finally layers start to chip away until the piece returns to a simple organ harmony, with a much cleaner sound than the one at the start. You get the sense that the noisy, damaged sounding drone at the start of the piece has gone through a transformation and emerged purified – it’s safe to say I experience this same transformation every time I listen to the record.
Oren Ambarchi – Grapes From The Estate
In addition to his approach to sound generation the album is immaculately structured, as each of the four compositions introduce new elements to the concept of the preceding track. So the first song presents an evolving cloud of tones, gently swaying to and fro, while the following track’s swaying sonic tapestry invites lightly brushed drums in the background. By the time the third track has gotten fully underway there are even denser chord poems at play, while an understated band provide gentle accompaniment. Taken as a whole, the album has the effect of sublimating the world around it, inviting closed-eyed listeners to drift into an serene alternate reality.