Belong – October Language

Belong
October Language

If I were a lazy journalist, I’d pull out the old My Bloody Valentine textbook and begin reciting quotes about the guitar sound copped from Loveless that so many electronic artists seem to have an affinity for these days. Since I am not, I’m going to tell you that Belong’s October Language is a magnificently beautiful album in its own right. The duo made up of Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones recorded the album in Dietrich’s bedroom in 2004, although it didn’t come out until this year.

Belong’s songs are made up of mutant guitar and keyboard melodies that play in elliptical patterns flowing effortlessly into one another. While the duo’s noisier side remains intact, subtle hooks reveal themselves as tiny illuminescent shards of light. Sure, the warm crackling tones bring to mind other electronic artists such as Christian Fennesz and Tim Hecker, but Belong does it with such heart and conviction that it is impossible to deny the duo’s inherent brilliance.

“I Never Lose. Never Really.” begins with a gurgling, warped guitar soon joined by evolving and increasingly prominent keyboard textures. “Red Velvet or Nothing” continues this style with a more overt guitar line that is as pleasing as it is destructive. The middle section of October Language drifts off on a more gently distorted channel before returning near the back half for more “loud” noise sections.

While there seems to be an increasing number of guitar-based “rock” bands slathering on the distortion and layers in order to achieve that classic shoegaze sound, the more interesting innovations pertaining to the genre seem to be occuring in electronic music. Musicians like M83’s Anthony Gonzalez and experimental guitarist Christian Fennesz have taken the textures of shoegaze and melded it with post-rock/Tangerine Dream worship and disorientingly aggressive noise respectively. Belong falls closer to the latter without being quite as complex or abrasive. Therein lies my only real complaint with October Language: it’s really not involving enough to compete on par with records like Endless Summer or Loveless but still comes out sounding pretty astounding nonetheless.