Compact Disc (CD), 2 x Vinyl LP
There’s a whiff of irony in the title of Craven Faults’s debut album, Erratics & Unconformties. The anonymous Yorkshire-based producer’s expansive synthesizer ruminations, while cerebral and absorbing, are rhythmically locked in, built around repetitive melodic patterns that nimbly circle around drones and simple harmonic progressions. Like fellow U.K. producer (and remixer) Pye Corner Audio, Craven Faults’s music is equally indebted to the persistent pulse of krautrock and the sonic legacy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, with nods to contemporary underground club music. These tracks, half of which stretch past the 10-minute mark, evolve slowly and with purpose, building incrementally to climaxes as intuitive as they are thrilling.
The two longest songs on the album offer contrasting variations on this approach. Shimmering, ascendant synth arpeggiations open “Vacca Wall,” rendering the track weightless until the slow creep of bulbous low-end reconnects with terra firma. Each pointillistic stab feels insistent and anxious, bolstered by the increasingly foreboding bass tones; a percussive pulse finally enters, slightly out of phase with the larger rhythmic environment, at last colliding with an emergent triplet pattern nearly 10 minutes into the track. “Slack Sley & Temple” is spare and slow by contrast, with a dubby atmosphere similar to Gas, sans the overtly techno-influenced rhythmic template: a single note wailing on repeat, the timbre becoming rusty and ragged with time. Erratics & Unconformities excels in music defined by empty space, unravelling. And yet, somehow, all that bracing dissolution amounts to something cohesive and satisfying.