As Petrels, Oliver Barrett has shown himself more than willing to spread the wealth, releasing a number of singles and EPs over the course of the past two years, this one for Aentitainment Records. With Onkalo riding the good graces of reviewers, completists will certainly seek this one out. They will be happy to discover that the [BOLT] entry is equally compelling, if not more so. Each track ends up being a bonus not only to fans of each artist, but to fans of the other artist as well.
[BOLT]’s “(10)” is a slow grower with a kick-ass ending. As for the title, it’s a 10″, it’s 10 minutes long, and it follows tracks “(1)” through “(9)” on [BOLT]’s album, , reviewed on these pages earlier this year. Clever! This unhurried track is built upon a bed of bass that continues throughout the duration, eventually joined by light synth and heavy distorted guitar. It’s the sound of a long tide moving in, inevitable and unremorseful. Each wave is just a little bit higher, a little bit more noticeable, until the shore is covered and the dunes are breached, and by then it’s too late. The final minutes, reminiscent of Portishead’s “Threads”, offer a repeated, violent motif, delivered by drums.
At ten minutes, Petrels’ “Xoloti singes the carpet” would not have fit on Onkalo, and it would have seemed out of place there as it possesses a more subdued timbre than the other pieces on that disc. As such, it makes a fine companion for “(10)”. Even the ending echoes that of Side A by highlighting percussive repetition. The piece doesn’t exactly sound like the dog-headed god of lightning bearing departed souls to their resting place, but it does convey a sense of passage through ambient washes and watery synths. Call it a half-Xoloti. One imagines the sun sparkling over the ocean, traveling patiently across the horizon while birds chirp their approval and tribal drums spur it on. “Xoloti” expands and contracts like heated molecules, finally disappearing in a plume of blue flame.
Come for either track, stay for the other; the tracks on this 10″ are soulmates. (Richard Allen)