Labradford – fixed::context


Somewhere between the ambient sleep-inducing drones and stripped-down guitar of pop music lies the netherworld explored by Labradford. Their music is blissful subconscious music, a swirling blend of electronic drones and guitar elements. The sound is practically alive despite its electronic origination, and listeners be aware: by the time you fully realize the genius of these sounds, the album is over. You must listen again and lose it again. That’s the way this band works.
Actually describing Labradford’s music is darn near impossible, like describing the sound of the wind. Sure, it’s based around guitar and piano and synthesizers and computers. But to simplify it to that degree is doing a disgrace to the band. Suffice it to say that these songs will occupy a space in your mind you didn’t quite know you have. These swirling, atmospheric tracks will hypnotize you and lull you and astonish you. Sometimes music has that power.
But how to describe these four tracks? “Twenty” leads in as an ambient soundscape, soft and building with an inorganic feel. The guitar comes in, a stark, cold element over these synthesized sounds, haunting with moody organ underneath. The multiple soft guitars provide a sort of quiet and desperate melody backed by these synthetic sounds for an intriguing dichotomy. The guitars and bass are used more extensively on the equally haunting “Up to Pizmo,” a quiet yet intense mixture of those elements plus some light backing synths. The enigmatic “David” has a more lofty approach, with soaring keyboards reaching behind and above the softly picked, deeply toned guitars. And the song ends with a wash of white noises and bare beats. “Wien” closes off this album much more dependent on the guitars. Quietly strummed with a soft, melodic underlay, this song has a warmer and more sincere feel to bring the opening track full-circle.
Labradford’s members are doing various side projects, but none quite compare to the brilliance of the sounds together. And working with Steve Albini, the four tracks here have a tighter, more precise and organic sound. This is the music to dream by or the sound of dreams. Incredible.