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Grimbergen - A Lonely Place

Much of A Lonely Place is built from the subtle layering of electronic drones, often shadowed by thick bass chords, and the occassional appearance of lighter synth melodies. The entire thing envelops like solid, grey mist creating an oppresive and downbeat atmosphere. It's especially true of the opening track, 'A Lonely Man' where rhythm is confined to intermittent lashes. The following track 'Without Hope' is all quavering and undulating synths, it's unfolding drone punctuated by spacey synth melodies and heaving slabs of electronic shudder but here the rhythm, when it finally appears, is much more ritual oriented, even though the dark ambient electronics remain the focus. There's an obvious affinity with the cavernnous rumbles of Cold Meat Industry acts, the deep drone of Lustmord and seventies Krautrock electronics.

'Waiting For Better Days' is much more focussed as layers of synths continuously fold in on themselves and accompanied by deep plucked bass it adds a degree of momentum to the track. It almost becomes neo-classical as the synths rise and fall, as beaty rhythms take it onwards to something more victorious, something more palpable than the deep rooted melancholia that enshrouds A Lonely Place. It's only right to point out that A Lonely Place was composed during a period when Nathan Clemence aka Grimbergen was recovering from a broken relationship. And that general feeling of malaise and despondency infects much of A Lonely Place.

A number of tracks feature wordless chants, a series of elongated harmonies consisting of thick, heavyset backings. At times, like the opening track, it gives the music a human element, an emotional pull often absent from dark ambient releases. At other times, such as on 'Unable To Escape' the vocal element takes the form of a solitary monk-like feel. The entire album is dark and moody, and all quite unobtrusive that it lends itself to quiet contemplation. Though if you're predisposed to dark thoughts you might want to give it a miss. I was listening to this late at night and even then I sought out something more upbeat before retiring to bed.

A Lonely Place follows a number of self-released CD-Rs, and marks the first full length album from Grimbergen. Two additional tracks have been appended to the track list that comprised the original CD-R run. With its lighter spacey melody 'We Are The Dead' is much more in the vein of seventies electronics, even taking on a part sci-fi, part Halloween type soundtrack feel at points. Sieben aka Matt Howden offer a remix of 'Drainage', his violin scrapes and soars heightening the dynamics of this beaty electronic track. Both the extra tracks are vastly different to the forlorn atmosphere of the earlier material and while they break the cohesiveness they do, at least, illustrate well the different styles Grimbergen are capable of. Still A Lonely Place is dark ambient with a melancholic undertow. For more information go to www.myspace.com/grimbergen or www.steinklang-records.at