Bent on solitary window gazing, The Sight Below apparently doesn't want anyone to obstruct his view. The Seattle-based producer's a bit of a recluse, withholding his name in favor of his nom de recording. With only a free download EP to date, his debut album, Glider, is bound to bring him even more attention. Frostbitten and serene, Glider melds deep 4/4 pulses with vivid treated guitarscapes that evoke seasonal transitions, things that fall, crumble and get iced-over every year only to hold warmth, within, until all passes over for green again. Blending snowblind ambience with touches of techno and shoegaze—"Further Away" could have opened any of the cold-bathwater tracks on Slowdive's Pygmalion for example—he's mining territory similar to artists like The Field or even Pantha du Prince but with longer lapses in consciousness and plenty of stylistic thumbprinting all his own.
My mention of 4/4 thump against such enveloping, long-birthed ambience is sure to recall Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project, and certainly The Sight Below doesn't shrink from the likeness. Both "At First Touch" and "Dour" resemble Voigt's throbbing lullabies; they emanate the same kind of easy rest, like living organisms at peace and slow-breathed. But when The Sight Below allows the seams around his guitar treatments to show as with the elongated guitar drones of "Without Motion" or the swaying, beatless froth of "Further Away," he stresses the tools over their effects. He moves away from what at times seems like an almost naturally-captured emotionality, a sound design at once formed in the studio but also somehow bell-jarring overnight stillness, bird hush. It's these moments where his moodiness is most distinctive. The e-bow guitar of "Life's Fading Light"—and yes, his titles are cheerlessly apt—ripples and sways into its sudden meaty rhythms, while "Nowhere" is even more effortless in its expanse, with static singing the edge of guitars that linger and moan so long they begin to resemble classical strings.
Though I hesitate to return to the comparison, inevitably many who hear Glider will write it off as sometimes a too-literal approximation of one of modern electronic music's monoliths. But The Sight Below alludes to the British rock music of the late '80s/early '90s just as much as classical or ambient works, and patient listeners will soon notice just how sturdy his tracks are for all of their affected fragility. After all, Gas is finished, The Field's making hotel soundtracks and Kranky's offering Windy & Carl records mark XXII (not a complaint). Sure, The Sight Below may owe such artists a drink or two, but on his debut he's making such beautiful fingerswirls out of the stuff they left behind that eventually, the debt may shift.
Buy The Sight Below - Glider at
Tracklist: The Sight Below - Glider 01. At First Touch
03. Without Motion
04. Life's Fading Light
05. Further Away
06. The Sunset Passage
07. Already There
08. A Fractured Smile
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