In Brood Ma's music the results are hellish and intense. Yearning Kru's world is calmer. Copper Vale is sprinkled with sci-fi references (The Fifth Element on "Multipass," David Lynch's Dune on "Freckles On The Pain Amplifier"), but it's more like a fantasy world, quaint and strange and unexpectedly dark. The spidery string loop in "Pain Amplifier" sounds like the ambience of a tavern scene in a Final Fantasy game, until the whole thing starts to melt, as if the CD is frazzling in the console tray. Elsewhere, tiny electronic sounds swirl and eddy in attractive patterns, creating the sense of bustling but unknowable life. It's often fairly difficult to pick out a musical narrative; better to think of each track as an environment to step into.
The first half of Copper Vale is almost provocative in its subtleness. "Tin Man" is pretty at first but soon wanders into a maze of chuntering electronics, as if we're lost in the dusty halls of an ancient factory complex. On "Apple Dredger," whose title suggests arcane farming machinery, muffled drums and bass guitar thud dolorously behind a scree of scrapes and rattles. "Relisher" and "Sarnath" are decaying landscapes seen in half-light, indistinct and threatening. Each track requires an effort of imagination from the listener to really bring it to life.
Just as that requirement is starting to seem too much, Yearning Kru offers a few bolder gestures. In "A Chapel Under Static" and "Mesa Gate," elegant synth melodies are a gossamer thread through the squeaky confusion. Closer "Multipass" is almost euphoric, its processed voices pulsing and swirling like an alien choir. Yearning Kru's indeterminate worlds are often beguiling, but it's this moment, when he sets his hand more firmly on the rudder, that sticks in the memory.