Labirinto / Thisquietarmy - Split - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Labirinto / Thisquietarmy - Split

by Andy Brown Rating:7.5 Release Date:2013-07-15

Brazil's Labirinto have released a number of fine records over the last few years, arguably reaching something of an artistic zenith with 2011 masterpiece, Anatema. That was my record of the year back then and remains something of an underexposed post-rock gem. That's not to say subsequent releases or indeed this split-LP with Canada's This Quiet Army don't continue to reach for the stars.

Labirinto's three contributions develop the sound we heard on last year's Kadjwynh EP. The band's widescreen compositions incorporate orchestral swells, atmospheric drones and moments of distortion-drenched, post- apocalyptic urgency. The band haven't (as far as I know) toured the UK but have managed to snare Tony Doogan for production duties. Doogan has worked with such Scottish musical luminaries as Belle & Sebastian, The Delgados and Mogwai.

Its Mogwai's brand of brooding post-rock which casts the biggest shadow over Labirinto's work, although that could be said for any instrumental rock band releasing an album post-Young Team. Labirinto trade in the kind of accomplished soundscapes Mogwai came to make with milestones such as The Hawk is Howling. There are also inevitable comparisons to be drawn with Canada's subversive harbingers of doom, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. In such lofty company, it would be easy for Labirinto to seem like accomplished imitators treading over well-worn ground but their music soars with a majesty and magic all of its own.

If Labirinto's side soundtracks the drama and tension of the apocalypse, then the five This Quiet Army pieces could easily compliment the post-apocalyptic vision conjured up in Cormac McCarthy's achingly sparse novel, The Road. This Quiet Army is the one-man experimental project of Montreal's Eric Quach (what is it with Montreal and brilliant music at the moment?). The five tracks here create something of a quietly hypnotic atmosphere, something to lose yourself in completely. Sparse but never hopeless, there's a beauty to the way these pieces unfold.

A successful split record should show the artists involved as unique entities which complement and subtly reposition each other's work. Labirinto and This Quiet Army work perfectly together and have created something engrossing and impressive in the process.

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