The Cray Twins’ The Pier: focus of scary soundscapes

19th May 2016

Title: The Pier

Label: Fang Bomb

Essentially, Paul Baran and Gordon Kennedy, The Pier is the duo’s, largely instrumental, debut release produced along with a selection of disparate musicians including Lucio Capece, Jos Smolders, Ken Vandermark and BJ Nilsen.

This is a haunting piece of soundscape art that hits you in the fight or flight centres of the brain right form the off on the first track. TorShavn, with its epically arranged soundtrack, offers tension and is massively sized, filling the sky in fact and yet gives you the impression that this ‘bigness’ is happening under the roof of an old, decaying, pipe rusting, paper strewn, door banging warehouse as rain leaking water noises cascade down the metal from above.

The second track, Duao 1, has a Faust-like contrast in terms of its presentation with nails scratching down a blackboard distortion that sears into your head via disturbed ears while, underneath, a calming, reassuring, even handed, ambient synth run provides a foundation of sanity. This is a Yin and Yang piece that will be loved by avant krautrocks, punk rockers and those of split personality. I loved it but I’m saying nothing about my mental health until I see a lawyer.

There are plenty of ideas on this 10 track album, some of them stem from an industrial urge including Fianuis, that extends themes heard in the first track and broadens them using synths to emulate choral voices, adding a new level of grandeur to the presentation while Song From A Black House actually features vocals that have a nightmarishly folkish aspect. This is folk music that, not only keys into traditions and stories of life but encourages the ghosts of the land to join in on the chorus.

Disturbing…but enjoyable because of that.