Xela – The Dead Sea (Type) 2006

I’m a bit in love with Type records at the moment. Besides releasing one of the two best records released last year , the mighty Going Places, Type is also home to Black to Comm, Grouper, Helios and Xela, one of my latest discoveries. I know I’m late to the party on Xela, but I’m mildly hooked on his variant of free improvised drone with avant garde interludes. Think of Daniel Menche crossed with the Vibracathedral Orchestra.

On The Dead Sea, Xela displays his fascination with the films of Italian horror auteurs. It’s a creepy, unsettling  experience but only peripherally so. Xela toys with the suggestion of horror, foreboding, unease, sadness and  grief. Even when he encapsulates beauty such as on the second track Linseed, the layers of effects and other instruments which are added  means that as a listener I can’t just relax. There is something not quite right – the memory of wind chimes, the trickle of an isolated creek, a child’s music box. This is a lush treat of soundtrack style composition. Equally lovely and unsettling, Xela is one of the artists I’m going to try to listen to more of this year.

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