Grumbling Fur ‘Alice’ (Latitudes Session) CD/LP 2012

Grumbling Fur 'Alice' (Latitudes Session) CD/LP 2012The (now) duo of Daniel O’Sulivan (Ulver / Mothlite / Aethenor / Guapo) and Alexander Tucker (Imbogodom / Guapo) add to the ongoing Latitude series under their Grumbling Fur moniker. Stripping back their sound somewhat in comparison with last year’s Aurora Borealis release, concentrating on bringing ghostly, outsider pop to the forefront, more akin to Tucker’s solo ventures than the sprawling, psych infused ambience and drones that made up the majority of their debut.

That particular debut caused a bit of a stir upon release, the contents were the result of a single day’s improvisation, the core duo of O’Sulivan and Tucker were joined by Antti Uusimaki (Mothlite, Panic DHH), Jussi Lehtisalo (Circle, Pharaoh Overlord) and David Smith (Guapo, The Stargazers Assistant) to form something of an experimental ‘super-group’. The results were astounding, the album found its way onto many ‘best of’ lists last year (mine included) and for damn good reason. The sonic tapestry that Grumbling Fur presented hinted at something that was meticulously crafted, rather than the improvised jam it actually was. The fluidity of the pieces and the interplay between the musicians was impeccable, combined with the trademark atmospheres we have come to expect from the main pair, resulted in a truly exceptional release.

‘Wylderness Waiting’ kicks off Alice with unmistakable dual vocal loops from O’Sullivan and Tucker, swirling analogue synths pin the track down, backed by drifting break-beats and dissonant electronic manipulations. As the piece progresses, more percussive elements are subtly thrown into the mix, piano sits prominently throughout and the combination of all these elements keep you captivated. Certainly not as dark and malevolent as previous works, but uplifting and strangely emotional, following a similar path that was initially carved out on Alexander Tuckers ‘Dorwytch’ and ‘Third Mouth’ albums.

As the EP progresses, the initial coherency set down by the opening piece gradually dissipates, making way for stark and transcendental moments throughout. Psychedelic passages mingle with the dissonant rhythms drawing you further down the rabbit hole and a lot is crammed into the relatively short running time of this particular release.

Solar Nights & Rainwater’ kicks off the dismantling process, skewed electronics with guitar and piano set up the hushed vocal tones, forcing you to be at ease, all the more willing to engage and give yourself over to their disjointed melodies. The pieces intensity gradually builds with each layer of meticulously crafted sonics, until the track is yet again broken down to its basic components, allowing the repetitive hypnosis to subside.

The cinematic and largely instrumental closer ‘Huthering Whites’ brings the session full circle, with a more ‘conventional’ structure, creating some form of semblance as their dreamlike tendrils still caress your acoustic nerves, gently bringing you back down to earth. Another great, albeit, short release from Grumbling Fur and the Latitudes series, it certainly whets the appetite for another full length sometime in the not so distant future, in the meantime track this down and revel in its blissed out atmospheres.

Label: Southern Records / Latitudes
Website: N/A

Scribed by: Todd Robinson