This EP reminds me of the old saying, “You wait ages for a new Glacis EP and then two come by at once”. Or maybe that’s not such an old saying. Tohu Va Vohu was reviewed here last year as a digital release, but will see its physical release in 2013; 22.16.04 was released in the waning days of 2012 and is being reviewed here in the first month of the new year.
While Tohu Va Vohu, the soundtrack to an animated film, focused on modern composition, 22.16.04 falls between the fields of ambient and drone. Valuable guest appearances from Matthew Collings and Ed Hamilton expand the sonic field. The eleven minute closing piece, “In Dawns Mouth Lives The Pulsing Remains Of Hope”, bears a post-rock title and would seem at home on a Hammock album. After hearing so much of Euan McMeekan’s piano on the previous EP, it comes as a surprise to witness the extent to which the drones takes over; by the end the piano notes drift like the wreckage of a shattered boat on an angry sea. While the EP is meant to explore “the tension between instruments and technology”, the dominance of these drones spells a clear victory for technology.
On “May This Night Never See Morning”, the drones surge instead of stretching. A little more complexity in the piano would have been welcome; we already know that McMeekan can play (as he does on “Words Held Back Create a Restlessness”), and artists who play to their strengths typically succeed. This latter piece represents the artist at his most accomplished, as it blends the disciplines rather than setting them against each other. Tension may be appealing up to a certain point, but the resolution of tension carries an even greater appeal. An upcoming album recorded with Hamilton promises to investigate these themes in greater detail. (Richard Allen)