Lost Tribe Sound
Dank, moody visual music, ripe with swampy field recordings, gritty modular pulses and chatter, and viscous globs of clarinet, contrasted nicely by the sly sideways approach of the slide guitar and other wandering strings. Really solid album, almost like a Chuck Johnson collab with Gareth Davis if there was one.
I don't see what you're doing there:
The juxtaposition of comfort
The familiar and the broken,
Moving hand over hand,
Raising an anchor or
Moving the ferry;
Hauling on chains, anyway;
Crossing the Styx or Oceanus
Hypnos or Thanatos
Welcome the weary
For a night or a life
These days they seem much the same.
Favorite track: Amor Mundi.
Another superb release from this highly underrated unit. The duo's mastery of electronics perfectly compliments the very human elements of guitar and woodwind often found at the centre of their compelling music. This release, beautifully packaged, sits among their finest work and is sure to be appreciated by anyone with an interest in ambient, drone, electronica and the chilliest fringes of techno. Make room for the darkness!
Limited deluxe edition gatefold vinyl-effect double-disc CD
Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album
This special limited edition release is in a run of 100 copies, modeled around the classic gatefold vinyl double LP. It includes printed front, rear and inner sleeves designed by Andrew Heath and featuring photography provided by the artist. It is complete with card sleeves which house printed vinyl-effect CDrs.
Includes unlimited streaming of The Last Sense To Fade
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Darkroom is a duo, each hailing from a UK capital city, with Andrew Ostler based in Edinburgh and Michael Bearpark from London. They have been active since the late nineties with music released through labels such as 3rd Stone, Champion Version and Burning Shed as well as their own Bandcamp. Their evolving live performances have been a particular feature for Darkroom, and much of their studio work begins with live performances. Those live performances had to cease in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and this prompted them to join our Home Diaries, in which they provided the penultimate edition of the series.
We had been in discussion with Darkroom prior to this point for some time, with the intention to release an album of their work and this also had to be paused as a result of the pandemic. This period of time provided an opportunity for all of us to reflect and prepare for something special, against a backdrop of uncertainty and disappointment. It is therefore fitting that this double album includes guitar extracts from the last live Darkroom duo performance to date, re-set into a new context in which remote performance and distant communication became not just workarounds but offer new ways of working for the future. Further live takes have been repurposed or adapted, alongside guest musicians and new material. The old and the new burn together alongside one another, like memories.
The seed for this album was Billy Connolly’s ‘Made In Scotland’ documentary, and these are the thoughts he shared about his neurodegenerative illness:
“My life is slipping away. But it doesn’t frighten me. It’s as if I’m being prepared for something, some other adventure, which is over the hill. I’ve got all this stuff to lose first, and then I’ll be at the shadowy side of the hill doing the next step or summat in the spirit world.”
After watching this deeply affecting meditation, Mike created the extended guitar improvisation that initiated this album. As part of a performance by Andrew, this became ‘The Shadowy Side Of The Hill’ as the first album piece completed. Additional guitars were recorded by Jon Durant when he visited the UK and by Bill Walker remotely from Santa Cruz in California. By chance, the album’s title was identified; it’s left deliberately ambiguous as to whether ‘The Last Sense To Fade’ is about dying, or sleeping. By late 2019, the first of what became two discs had been completed and the mood felt dark, both in the recordings themselves and the world around.
A balancing light slowly emerged as Darkroom began to explore their ideas for the second disc. A key part of concluding this double album was coming to terms with the loss of deep connections, and of damage catching up after a long time - when, for a time, it became difficult to think at all, compounded by pandemic lockdown restrictions. The decisive creative moment came in realising that the album was somehow about all of this, such that completing it took on a new and urgent significance. The closing thoughts of Connolly’s documentary seemed an apt spearhead with which to move on:
“You can volunteer to take life seriously, but it’s going to get you. You know they’re going to win over you. It’s harsh. You can either break down and complain about how miserable your life is, or have a go at it and survive. I think that’s the basis of it all.”
‘The Last Sense To Fade’ in its completed form is more positive than almost anything Darkroom has ever recorded. It is very much of its time, and a reaction to it, while also managing to stand outside of being defined by any particular time. The cover photography was taken less than two years before the album’s release and the world looked so different. Now, in retrospect, this image captures something of that difference; of foundations about to give way. The warm and beautiful evening light anticipates the next day’s sunrise, but also suggests destruction, both personal and global; a familiar landscape being transformed before our eyes. This album came from a new determination that it’s nevertheless worth creating in response to this, that loss is an open door but also an invitation, and that there will be new ways of seeing the world even if they won’t last forever.
released December 11, 2021
Recorded by Andrew Ostler
Additional guitars recorded by Michael Bearpark
and Bill Walker
Edited, mixed, and produced by Darkroom
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Andrew Ostler - bass clarinet, tenor saxophone,
modular synths, laptop
Michael Bearpark - guitar, field recordings
Jon Durant - fretless guitar
Bill Walker - slide guitar
Cover photograph - Michael Bearpark
Photo restoration - Arber
Darkroom portrait - Rob Blackham
Art and Design - Andrew Heath
Special thanks: Elif, Jon, Bill, Kamil Kowalczyk
(Soundscapism), Ian Faragher (Sonic Imperfections,
Telegraph Hill), Anil Prasad, Arber / Curated Doom, Rob,
Mike Whitfield, Billy Connolly, Neil the Professor, Looper’s Delight, H&K Red Box, SG8’s Jubilee Wood and Long Barrow, EB / JB / ZB. And dearest LB: after ten thousand days, we lost our way… this is dedicated to what we could share, before our damage caught up.
Whitelabrecs is an experimental record label established in 2016, specialising in highly limited runs of vinyl-effect CDrs
and occasional digital-only editions. The discography focuses on contemporary Ambient music, including Drone, Modern Classical and Electro Acoustic....more
supported by 43 fans who also own “The Last Sense To Fade”
vár spoils you with blurry melodies, intricate synth work, and washed-out drone aesthetics before fading amidst field recordings of ocean waves. it practically demands a replay immediately after the disc has run its time. childish, fickle, but at the same time ephemeral as spring itself miso