A Journal Of The Dark Arts
On Erratics & Unconformities, enigmatic British synth outfit Craven Faults departs the industrial ruins of Northern England for wilder climes.
To say that Britain has been undergoing a ferocious transition during the 21st Century would be a rather gross understatement. The UK has been struggling with economic uncertainty, industrial decline, and xenophobia, as they attempt to find their place in the new, interconnected global society. Britain has been segueing into a post-industrial society since at least the 1970s, leaving a large swathe of the population feeling alienated, anxious, uncertain about their identity, their future. It’s been causing all manner of social unrest, similar to what we’ve been experiencing in the United States, and for similar reasons.
And yet, for all of that, Erratics & Unconformities, the first proper full-length from the enigmatic synth outfit Craven Faults, does not sound grim or hopeless, for all of its class consciousness.
Over the span of three well-received EPs, Craven Faults have been exploring the region around a textile mill in Yorkshire, where the project is based. Albums like the Lowfold Works Trilogy seemed to channel the specters of looms, spinning and waving in glorious harmony, while rough tin roofs poked out over the sprawling forests busily reclaiming the industrial bones. On Erratics & Unconformities, Craven Faults are departing the industrial ruins, taking the canal path out of town, lined by rough-hewn megalithic walls, into the sprawling, ancient wilderness surrounding the area.
It’s an area resonant with centuries of class struggle, however. Nottinghamshire is the home of Sherwood Forest, the mythical home of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. It was the location of an infamous Miner’s Strike in the early ’80s. Protest and rebellion seems soaked into the dirt, popping up like strange fungal blooms throughout Erratics & Unconformities six longform electronic meditations.
For all of this talk of the past, of history and heritage, Erratics & Unconformities doesn’t sound particularly post-industrial. Instead, it’s comprised of six lengthy longform electronic meditations on Progressive Electronics, with a focus on modular synthesis, falling somewhere between the psychedelic headtrips of The Orb in the ’90s, the synth workouts of Pink Floyd, the pastoral electronics of kosmische druids like Harmonia or Faust, and the clinical synth experiments of Tod Dockstader.
Instead, it’s comprised of six lengthy longform electronic meditations on Progressive Electronics, with a focus on modular synthesis, falling somewhere between the psychedelic headtrips of The Orb in the ’90s, the synth workouts of Pink Floyd, the pastoral electronics of kosmische druids like Harmonia or Faust, and the clinical synth experiments of Tod Dockstader.
Interestingly, Erratics & Unconformities doesn’t sound particularly retro or futuristic. If anything, it’s more retrofuturistic, returning to a previous era’s dreams of the future. This is no nostalgia, however. Instead, it’s the sound of modern musicians using antiquated equipment and archaic techniques to commune with the spirits, arpeggiators and sequencers and tape machines giving voice to the ley lines, capturing the voice of the dead, so they make speak.
Sonically, this sounds like music for a retro-fitted industrial space – music for chic cafes inside of industrial ruins, old woolen mills converted to co-working spaces, walls still sporting paint fleck ghost signs; internet startups sending signals from beneath bleached wood and rusted metal. Heritage as Big Business, cultural export.
There’s something inherently optimistic about Progressive Electronic music – it evokes the future in its very essence, bringing dreams of flying cars and levitating cities, ambient spaces and better living through chemistry. It hearkens back to both the utopianism of rave as well as the mystical futurism of ’60s Psychedelia. It gives hope that there will be a future, which is something we all so dearly need in this moment.
Whether you’re looking for a soundtrack for yr hip, authentic retrofitted workspace or are wanting to wander in the forests, through the wreckage and ruins of civilization, Erratics & Unconformities will make a suitable soundtrack. It’ll take you there, bringing visions of the past and, hopefully, the future to come.
Erratics & Unconformities is out now on The Leaf Label.
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