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22 July 2010

Album Review: Walls. Self-titled.

artist: walls.
album title: self-titled.
record label: kompakt.
release date: april 2010.

this release seemingly appeared out of thin air to me, as i had never heard a peep about the project, had never heard of the band, and had no preconceived notion whatsoever about what to expect. this happens rarely during this mad information age - generally i know something about a band before i ever hear a note of the music. so it was a rare treat indeed to have this thrust in my hands, a complete mystery, and have it turn out to be one of the best things i've heard all year.

kompakt is a label that rarely disappoints. best known for their impeccable electro releases, kompakt started to make a name for themselves in the shoegaze world with the 2007 release of the field's from here we go sublime. hovering somewhere between techno, trance and shoegaze, the field created an album of incredibly beauty that opened up a lot of people's eyes about the notion of "shoegaze" and what it can mean. this hybrid seemed to resonate with a lot of people.

so to find this jewel of a release in a similar vein from kompakt a few years later doesn't come as that much of a surprise. walls takes up where the field left off, veering much further in the direction of the gaze and atmophere, and leaving the techno beats buried much more deeply into the mix. the result is an incredibly blissful sound - sometimes ambient and dreamy, sometimes almost like a shoegazer's version of a dance beat, with occasional sleepy vocals here and there. it's gorgeous, frankly.

walls is based out of london, and consists of two members, alessio natalizia and sam willis. alessio is known for his work with banjo or freakout, and is considered the more traditional musician of the pair, creating lo-fi dreampop. sam willis is a producer and co-founder of the popular dance podcast series allez-allez. the marriage of these two worlds is completely in evidence on the record, and the blend of sounds is incredible. brian eno would be proud and impressed.

the production at times sounds lo-fi, but purposely so - it adds to the atmosphere a bit of nostalgic ambience. this works wonderfully with the fuzzed out guitar drones that dwindle into ambient drum beats that build into blissed out dance is an exceptionally well put together record. perfect to bliss out to on a summer night.

as a debut release, i couldn't be happier with walls. this will definitely be one of my top releases of 2010. i look forward to more amazing stuff from them. highly recommended. you can buy the record HERE.

check out the track "hang four" from the album, posted below!

review by amber.

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