Rothko - Discover The Lost - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Rothko - Discover The Lost

by Steve Rhodes Rating:7 Release Date:2016-07-08

Around for the last two decades, with a whole host of releases on a plethora of labels, Discover The Lost is Rothko's first long-player release since 2007. With plenty of immediate exposure on John Peel's radio show, along with fellow like-minded travellers Billy Mahonie, Fridge and Hiremika Hi-Fi, they blurred the lines between Post-Rock, Ambient and even the fledgling beginnings of Math-Rock. The abstract Rothko, living up to their namesake, conducted unusual angular soundscapes, with the bass guitar at the forefront, and they continue upon this path for Discover The Lost to largely positive results.

The title track sets the stage, with bass leading the way and lightly-strummed acoustic-sounding guitars providing the rhythms . The additional, overlaid guitar melodies are oriental-tinged, similar in stature to Gnac, as the song starts to accelerate then stops just as quickly leading to a optimistic drone. A simple, idyllic opening.

This pattern is built upon on 'Place of Return' where the spacious bass and guitar again wander down their own pathways, though in addition there are wobbles of background atmosphere, sounding often like a distant car starting its motor. The song is certainly unhurried and touches on the wastelands of Prog, especially Mike Oldfield, with keys again that are serene and inoffensive.

'Breath' takes a turn towards darkness and tension, with creeping atmospherics backing the guitar and the sounds of atonal crickets looping in and out. Though it feels aimless the song finally realises focus when shards of guitar noise crunches, light drums and rolling bass appear late in the proceedings. 'Thoughts For Tomorrow' maintains the sombre tone with a spiky, almost-slapped bass, played at breakneck speed at times, but also makes room for space between the notes, with just an echoed drum and moody guitars in the background for support. 'Reasons For Me' continues the rather meandering theme, with guitars and bass that feel like they're stumbling round in the dark, with only dribbles of glockenspiel and deeply buried synths giving structure to a rather roaming track.

Where Rothko experiment and drift away from tried and tested formulas does the album finally take an upturn in interest. 'Time That You Took' is a somewhat unsettling, drone-heavy track, but is still packed full of beauty, with long, held chords that take on the subtlest of shifts. 'Truths And Signs' packs an immediate punch with a Godspeed You! Black Emperor-inspired deeply-distorted train horn, barely-audible piano and apeggioed guitar providing disjointed but rewarding melodies, backed by fuzzy, electronic pulses of sound that slowly weave in and out of the track. But it's 'Photographs of Then' that is the true standout. Delayed and sampled looped synths, that sound like an accordian at times, are joined by strings and an echoed, Spanish-influenced acoustic guitar. An intense and mournful song, full of light and space, that David Sylvian could claim as his own, like an undisturbed trip in the countryside.

Though closer 'You' is a nice but rather forgettable return to type, that hinders a large chunk of the album, the more solid and structured approach of 'Way To Home' is a far better marriage of bass and guitar, which neatly strum in alignment, backed by the simplest of atmospheric keys, producing a deeply-melodious and memorable track.

Well not exactly an easy listen has always been Rothko's forte and they certaintly don't fail to deliver with Discover The Lost. Best avoided for those looking for an instant fix, it does though draw in the repeated listener with its subtlety and ambiance. A welcome return for a group that had been archived away for so long.

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