Nova Lux
6

  • MGR
  • Neurot
  • 2006-03-06

This is the first album from MGR, or Mustard Gas and Roses, side-project of Mike Gallagher, guitarist for doom/post-metal luminaries Isis. The album contains five tracks of instrumental desolation spread over an expansive fifty-two minutes.

Nova Lux finds its mood positioned within that pradoxical convergence of the incredibly wide, sparse, open landscape and the close and personal internal. Stylistically there are many points at wich the pieces could be Isis’ work, with Gallagher taking a very recognisable element of his band’s style but exploring it further on a much larger terrain.

this pulsating and dwelling ambient noise features throughout the album

The first track, “I”, bears a comparison to Isis “Wills Dissolve” from their most recent Panopticon, an album with a much more mature, dynamic and accomplished feel than their previous work, with seemingly more careful and intricate construction. The same careful intricacy comes out here and comparison can also be drawn through both the melodies played and the formal characteristics — clean and precise interweaving guitars. The guitar work only appears after three minutes though, within which the listener is offered a kind of tubular swelling drone typical of the overall meditative, trancey feeling upon which all of the tracks upon the album sit – this pulsating and dwelling ambient noise features throughout the album, sometimes taking centre stage but mainly bookending and backgrounding the guitar work.

All of the tracks contain the same blend of resounding synths and subtle guitar patterns, sometimes with reverberating piano lines. At points such as on “II”, low-end guitar produces hypnotic repetition, driving the songs along through the album’s experimental wilderness, forming a base for the higher melodies to position themselves against. “IV” brings a new element in though, with manipulated beats, performed by Oktopus from progressive hip hop group Dalek. The addition of this percussive rhythm gives more definition to Gallagher’s incantations — not at all to suggest that the other pieces are at a loss without it.

low-end guitar produces hypnotic repetition, driving the songs along through the album’s experimental wilderness

The multitracking that would have been necessary for layering and harmonising these instrumental pieces suggests a lot of personal effort and time devoted to the project and it will be quite suited to the listener who is also prepared to make this kind of personal effort. It is an album which won’t exite some people at all, and wont necessarily find itself in your stereo that often, but it will definitely appeal to fans of ambient projects such as Tribes of Neurot or artists on the Kranky label, or fans of Isis, and in general will reward anyone who is prepared give it the attention it needs.

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