Alex Smalley

Music through patterns of energy.

Pausal – Forms

Label: Barge Recordings – BRG 011
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Genre: Ambient, Electronic
Year: 17 Jul 2012
Artwork: Ernst Haeckel
While Barge’s release schedule might be slow at best, it never ceases to amaze us how darned good each record is. This latest from sky-gazing droners Pausal is no exception, and shows just how engrossing this kind of music can be if done absolutely right. Split into four defined movements, Alex Smalley and Simon Bainton guide us through a shimmering haze of humid ambience and sparkling field recordings. A good point of reference would be Thrill Jockey lads Mountains, but Pausal imbue the sound with a classicism that’s straight out of ‘Apollo’-era Eno, and that’s no mean feat. As the dense bliss of the first half of the album dissolves into distant strings, rhythms begin to emerge slowly and surely, and without defined beats of any kind you begin to fill in the blanks. Like Gas’s ‘Pop’ before it, there is a sense that in the haze of looping samples there’s are rhythms barely able to release themselves, and thankfully the lads have enough good sense to leave it to our imagination. ‘Forms’ is a surprising and engrossing take on a sound that’s been getting a little tired of late, thank goodness there’s still people around willing to give it a shot of adrenaline when it needs it.

© Alex Smalley 2023