Fri 7th September 2007
This split 12" is the second in a series of vinyl releases resulting from a joint venture between Hydra Head Records and Temporary Residence Ltd. The record comes housed in a simple card sleeve adorned with a panoramic photo of Egyptian pyramids. The vinyl itself, in this case, is a pleasingly garish yellow.
The pairing of Jesu and Eluvium is a natural one, with both acts sharing a love of expansive soundscapes and electronic experimentation. For this collaboration Jesu present three new tracks, with Eluvium contributing one lengthy piece that fills the entirety of their side.
The opening Jesu track 'Farewell' is very much is the same vein as the material found on their last full length 'Conqueror'. The song quite adeptly blends pop and shoegaze but ends up sounding a tad dull and lifeless. Blame rests primarily with the plodding, uninspired programmed beats, which fail to add any life or spark to the song. Similarly, Broadrick's monotone, overly processed vocals detract more than they add.
After this somewhat rocky start, the record does steadily begin to improve. The third and final track 'Why Are We Not Perfect?' is a pleasantly melancholic cut, offering up a more familiar expansive sound that manages to be both more expressive and interesting that the song that precede it.
In spite of this material being far from bad, it's still hard to shake the feeling these tracks all feel a little curtailed. To my mind Jesu are always at their best when indulging in sparse ten minute epics. In short, this isn't the best material Jesu have ever committed to record, sounding more like a collection of leftovers than a coherent whole.
Thankfully, the Eluvium side of this split makes up for a lot.
Consisting of one long composition, 'Time-Travel of the Sloth' spills languidly from the speakers, all shimmering drones and shifting textures. The piece builds gradually as multiple layers of drone drift in and out of existence. Beautiful contemplative piano melodies rise and fall amidst the aural haze, until finally, the whole construction climaxes with a crushing crescendo of full frequency saturation.
When the last notes die away, the insistent click and pop of the run off groove may not be enough to rouse you from your Eluvium induced trance. When you do finally return to the waking world, I can guarantee you'll be sauntering over to the record deck to set the whole sequence of events in motion again.