In 2011, Gimu released a new album or EP almost every month. That’s a lot of music, but few weak links were present; consistent quality is the key to the artist’s success. The title of Gimu’s latest effort echoes Jasper TX’s “They’ve Flown Away and Left Us Here”, but at least they’ve left a radio. The album is as forlorn as the title implies, with nary a glimpse of light. No birds soften the timbre (as on “Rupture”, from Heights and Abysses); no apparent melodies kidnap one’s attention. But the album also steers clear of The Inexplicable Iceberg Blue EP‘s harshness. The artist has been careful not to release similar works next to each other, creating a diverse catalog in which every entry is distinguishable.
They all left one by one, they all left the radio on falls squarely into the realm of dark ambient drone. The sounds are bleak, cold, emotionless. Throughout the album, two forces collide: the percussion of an old factory or warehouse, and the disembodied music of what could easily be a haunted radio. This creak-and-note combination recalls The Shining, especially on the ballroom-inspired “Armored”. Midway through the track, the music stops, leaving a trail of clanks and gurgles in its wake; then restarts like an interrupted seance. The Russian timbres of “Inhospitable”, present in the chanted male vocals, seem like the echoes of failed communism wandering over piles of broken mortar, searching for a host.
The album is even more effective when the drone aspect is added. On the title track, it exists as a single note, sustained throughout. The thicker the sonic field, the greater the claustrophobic sense. This is the fog of desolation: ruined architecture, sullen emotion, corroded cognition. The dust of despair washes over the landscape. Nothing here is cheerful, but the album makes a cold, reliable companion on a rainy, gloomy day. Clearly it’s not for all listeners; but the sound of someone else’s misery can often – cruelly but faithfully – lift the cloak of another’s cloud. Those who can relate to this album will find that they are not alone, and in that fact lies an ironic consolation. (Richard Allen)