Friday, 22 September 2017

The Great Crater

The weather in this part of the world has turned rather wintry these past few days, the promise of an Indian summer has been met with a definite chill in the air, so it’s appropriate that Robin Rimbaud’s latest Scanner album, The Great Crater should drop thru my letterbox on Wednesday courtesy of the excellent Italian Glacial Movements label. The Great Crater, a 49min concept album about a mysterious circular formation seen on the Antarctic ice sheet - a side effect of the continent’s rising temperatures, is one of the finest ambient isolationist albums I’ve heard in many years. This is very much a work with an intuitive understanding of its environment, the beautiful electronic textures unfold like huge empty expanses of white desert while thunderous low end vibrations, Penderecki style plucked strings and disquieting percussive effects suggest a subterranean world in disintegration. Listening to the album another great work of frozen ambient drift came to mind, Thomas Köner’s Nuuk but I think I prefer The Great Crater, it feels more panoramic, immense and perhaps appropriately enough, warmer. Glacial Movements have given the album a fine release, the CD’s exquisite art direction was overseen by Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek) and the album’s title is embossed, crater-like, on the front of the fold-out digipak - a very nice touch. Incidentally, I listened to the album last night whilst leafing thru David Wilson’s excellent coffee table book The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott, and the century old vistas of Scott’s trips to Antarctica made for an excellent visual companion…

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