This new single by Listening Mirror starts out in similar fashion to countless other ambient/drone tracks with a low-key hum, but it soon ramps up the atmosphere and rather than being blasé about more ambience, one is suddenly beguiled. The backing is certainly enigmatic – was that hum actually a didgeridoo? – and the mysterious bangs and bumps off in the distance bring in a fresh level of gripping uncertainty in the music. The delicate nature of the music threatens to spiral off into ethereal grey clouds, but then there’s the comforting twang of a guitar string and the background ambience shimmers into cohesion around the sparse patterns played.
The air hangs heavy as the guitar echoes and delays through slow riffs as “The Clearing” morphs into “My Hiding Place” (well it does on the digital copy; if you’re lucky enough to have the lathe-cut 7”, there will be more of a gap). If Dylan Carlson had picked up an acoustic guitar one morning when making Hex, Earth might have sounded like this; all blasted ambient drones and twangs. The second track sends the guitar deeper into the mix throughout its duration so it becomes almost lost by the end.
For digital fans, there’s a bonus: doubling the overall running time “Play Fair Frank” reduces the guitar riff of the previous two pieces to a single string being plucked, echoed, delayed, bounced around a bit and sent back with interest. The disembodied voices that spring out of nowhere give it an extra level of spookiness. The further we go on, the bleaker it becomes; this single is the perfect background music when reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, moving slowly across a haunted landscape with only the ghosts for company. (Jeremy Bye)