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Black Swan: Tone Poetry (Bandcamp)

Black Swan was new to me when I first played Tone Poetry. And what a fantastic first impression the album made! I’ve played the album dozens of times, and yet I’ve found myself struggling with words to adequately describe it, despite how much I like it. “Ritual” rolls in like a thick fog, dense and shapeless and all-surrounding, and it sets the tone for the proceedings nicely. “Eden” is the longest track and a clear standout with its string harmonics and atmospheric reverb, all gliding by with glacial patience into the more harrowing sounds of “Prophecy.” It is that continuity from track to track that makes Tone Poetry go down so smoothly, all sounding like one amorphous whole rather than discrete pieces or parts.

<a href=“http://blackswan.bandcamp.com/album/tone-poetry-2014” data-mce-href=“http://blackswan.bandcamp.com/album/tone-poetry-2014”>Tone Poetry (2014) by Black Swan</a>

The often disembodied, oblique chamber arrangements (often sounding like strings or organ or other traditional instruments, buried in effects) remind me of some of the weirder more recent material from Tim Hecker, though the heavy fog of Tone Poetry might ultimately place it closer to David Lynch’s Eraserhead on the sound spectrum, or perhaps the haunted sounds of The Caretaker. But Tone Poetry moves me more than any of those sounds, with a linear progression to it that is as patient as it is lush. For all of its darker moments, the final stretch of the album is, for lack of more eloquent words, fucking gorgeous. “Departed” and “Elegy” both unfold with a tragic beauty, elegant and patient. It’s an album that rises above comparisons by virtue of just how exquisite it is. Highly recommended for fans of ambient drone music, easily one of my favorites of the year so far.

Buy it: Bandcamp