Dementia and Hope Trails – Depress (CD-R, Twilight Luggage)

Dementia and Hope Trails offers up a 40 minute CD-R for experimental/noise label Twilight Luggage, focusing on an idea you can probably guess from the title – depression. Split in three tracks, Depress explores this theme throughout, with titles like “Depression,” “Depressant,” and “Depressive.” But don’t let it get you down.

The first track, “Depression,” begins with some eerie manipulated effects that sound like noises made from the mouth, breathy and juicy if you will, with a slight hint of metallic scrapes akin to spoon clinks. It moves into a juddering loop, until a static buzz snakes its way into the picture and slowly drones the other sounds out. The tone oscillates in pitch, creating a very peaceful, lilting soundscape of shifting drone. Those first few tones are still audible in the background – though at first they took the forefront of the track, they’ve now become a bit of background noise that pushes through the fuzz of drone fog. The higher pitched tone loops for a couple of minutes until new bits of sustained chords weave their way through the tapestry. Dementia and Hope trails doesn’t dwell for too long on just one drone here, always intermingling new sounds with the old to build more layers, providing a varied listening experience that feels much shorter than its 23 minute run.

Track two, “Depressant,” follows a similar thread first began in “Depression,” with a distant whirring tone coupled with those same breathy mouth sounds heard in the last track. And quickly, the sounds shifts into a  background whir while sustained, melancholy guitar chords echo over it. There’s a dampened mood to this piece that I really like, and whereas the first track maintains a noisier drone throughout, this short track brings the melodic guitar sound out in an emotional, moving piece.

“Depressive” kicks off with some distant, muffled vocal sounds over a droning chord that sounds just like a synth, although it’s apparent that no synths were used on this record because of the notes on the back cover. This track is again more melancholy in mood toward the beginning, although the tones used are very transcendental because of their rich reverb coating. Dementia and Hope Trails builds this track through long sustains and soaring guitar notes until the finale, where darkness seeps in with gong-like crashes and guitar drones that remind of attending a dark church cult.

Depress provides a very ethereal experience throughout, and the album wavers between uplifting and depressive. The drones on this piece are phenomenal, crafted with an attention to maintaining the thematic ideas begun in the opening over the course of the entire piece. No piece drones on for too long, and if you’re not a fan of the sunn O))) type of drone with sustained minor guitar chords, Depress might be up your alley because of its ever-expanding soundscapes.

You can grab this release yourself here.

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