The Architects

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Band Name Randal Collier-Ford
Album Name The Architects
Type Album
Released date 27 January 2015
Labels Cryo Chamber
Music StyleDark Ambient
Members owning this album1


1. A New Age
2. Construction of a Demon
3. Eye of the Watchers
4. The Return
5. Grave of the Chariots
6. Hellgate
7. Cove of the Architects
8. Void

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Randal Collier-Ford

Review @ Dotflac

14 May 2015

The fear of oneself

I'm gonna be honest with you : before this album, I knew Randal Collier-Ford as well as I like to listen to the latest Rihanna's single when it floods the radio waves that I don't listen to any more anyway. Even though I draw music every so often in the catalog of the english netlabel Kalpamantra, his previous albums, all released there, passed below my radar threshold. A fixed mistake, now that The Architects is published at my favourite Cryo Chamber (for two months, I know, I'm damn late) and reveals him to me ; I had to educate myself a bit and evaluate the progress of the man since 2012. Evolving since his previous release from the beaten paths of drone towards a greater attention given to the field recordings fracturing shamelessly our vital space, the artist widens what he started in august 2014 on an album with an indecipherable title, to take us more easily in his oppressive universe ruled by unimaginable powers.

From start to finish, The Architects is a challenging and exhausting experience. 50 minutes of dark ritual ambient, scattered with claustrogenous recordings who will leave a few down-times only to ram home harder in the next sonic assault. Dense and visceral atmospheres coming from the abyss of time do not express themselves with distance, as usually in the drone fields, but really seem to surface from the deepest corners of ourselves, as the close-ranged sound design from the guy proves it.

Mechanical wheezes and whistling breathings, erratic and unclear whisperings, obscure and abstract events, all the crackling and epidermal textures reaching us can't be muffled as their epicenter originates in our head ; to cover our ears will only amplify them. And this is where I find the development of the album interesting, because the further we push the listening forward, the more insidious and close the sounds become. As if the madness learnt how we worked and discerned with a disconcerting ease our weaknesses, as if it was a being endowed with its own will that used us and wished to be outside our body without forgetting to crunch us beforehand.

Cause these schizophrenic compositions do not appear to be a straight by-product from our psyche, but look more like they come from the same remote dimensions where fallen gods rebel in vain, in the depths of space and time, and whose original meanings are distorted by our own human and modern conscience, a dehumanized present alienating the messages filtered through it. A forced dialogue whose representatives seem so close, but taking their exact origins completely out of range. From this vision results a latent and insolvent awkwardness that consumes us a bit more at each track, until the claustrophobic atmosphere ultimately defeats us from Hellgate and its horrific strings crescendos, and awakes our inner demons until the extinction of what makes us who we are in the end of the album.

The Architects clearly stands out from the conventional batch of dark ambient releases, catching off guard the projects usually oppressing the listeners through external elements and ultimately folding us back on ourselves, after having our mental state grinded at the rhythm of suffocating drones and desolate field recordings. Here, Randal Collier-Ford cleverly traps us and fetches the anxiety where we often feel the safer : inside our head, with ourselves. And since it has always been easier to break defenses from the inside, we quickly feel helpless against the low frequencies pulsations weakening our foundations, as in The Return, and leave to the higher-pitched sounds on the verge of saturation all the leisure to smash the walls of our consciousness and our will. The Ego, the Superego and the Id are swept away, we are now only an intermediary subjected to a madness that seized us.

A really good surprise from the North American, offering a release outside the actual productions, and does it well. But I warned you : the listening experience is not among the most relaxing ones, and is a trial that will not do you any favors.

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