3 out of 5
Label: VHF Records
Produced by: Simon-Wickham Smith
Verrry interesting. Noooot so much something you yearn to listen to offhand, but very interesting nonetheless, with some excruciatingly awesome highlights that are balanced out by the dissected, improvisational nature of the thing.
Lake was the debut release from Richard Youngs and Simon-Wickham Smith, introducing the world (or the three people to whom they gifted the original No Fans pressing of the album) to what happens when to sprawlingly-talented musical ingenues meet their acoustics (Youngs) with electronics (Smith), and let ‘er rip. …And by ‘rip,’ I mean spread and multiply and infect and mutate and freak out and other somewhat non-musical things that emerge from the mess into suddenly musical things. Being a small pressing project strictly for their own interests, Lake is allowed its indulgences: its four segmented parts go deep into obsessiveness, kicking off with the most fractured of the pieces with Lake Part One: Youngs (presumably) reading off some type of instructional document related to a physical lake while a caustic drum sound is randomly triggered. Still, once you settle into this, it has a trance-like vibe. Alas, the track takes breaks every couple minutes thereafter to drastically switch gears, and you never quite get the chance to adjust to any given moment. Lake Part Two is a sudden turnaround of comparative cohesiveness, and also a beautiful example of the kind of graceful discordance this duo can get up to. Though divided into three sections, the soothing ramble of noise is closer to Youngs’ and Smith’s latter-day experimentations, and hits several awe-inspiring moments of noisy bliss. Lake Part Three is… dedicated. Appropriately sub-titled Chord, it’s twenty minutes of exactly that, pure drone, with the subtle variations allowed by a human being repeating one sound for a third of an hour. Again, not exactly ‘OMG gotta hear this again,’ but interesting, and… dedicated. Part 4 stands toe to toe with Part 2 in terms of structure and quality, making the album half music, half mystery, but holistically an inspired – if totes insular – project.