Richmond Tape Club Vol. 4: Anduin (C20, Richmond Tape Club)

anduin

Anduin is the project of Jonathan Lee, and on this tape it’s sort of a revolving door of artists that stop by to help him out. His sound is primarily characterized by droning rhythms; Anduin is not quite noisy, but it can also feature tones considered unsettling. Whatever the label for his project’s music may be, it’s clearly built on ethereal synths and a focus on soaring textures rather than noise extremes.

Opener “Ginter Park” is a short track with a dark synth pulse; it’s only a minute in length, so the sound quickly disperses into the next track. Unfortunately, I wanted to hear a little more of this, because the transition is abrupt – it’s not the best lead-in to “Sleeper” despite being a hypnotic track. The lengthier “Sleeper” is a beautiful droning melody, with a wavering, echoing tone mixed with quiet percussive elements. It’s joined in the middle of the track by a smooth saxophone improvisation, and I can’t imagine anyone hearing this piece and walking away unhappy. The final track for side A, “Fever Dream,” captures its title rather well – it’s a dark, slow-burning drone, the kind of unsettling sound I mentioned in the introduction to this review.

Side B starts out with “Strangers,” a steamy track with only a couple of note changes from the synth. That’s more of a background texture, as well as the percussion chimes, that is meant to accompany the sax solos and the heavy string chords; it’s a track reminiscent of what you might hear during an 80s movie about the grittiness of the city. “First Life” ends the tape with a dark flow of sounds – the rustle of leaves or brush, the melancholy chords of a wavering guitar. Then it shifts into a percussion-heavy pulse.

Anduin weaves fantastic instrumentation into this tape; his use of sax, strings, and found sounds add a lot to the basic drones, leaving the listener with excellent floating pieces to get lost in. It’s a fitting end to the first set of the Richmond Tape Club: sometimes melancholy, never dull.

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