Release Date: Apr 15, 2014
Record label: Blackest Ever Black
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Dalhous's beguiling 2013 album An Ambassador For Laing saw them filter Blackest Ever Black's desolate tendencies through surprisingly sprightly beats and bright textures. Scottish duo Marc Dall and Alex Ander (music by the former, engineering by the latter) follow it up with an EP that also grapples with melodrama, although this time it's gloomier. Their lush synth textures are a few tints darker and their songwriting is a whole lot tighter.Dalhous sound like they've got a better grip than ever on their equipment.
It wouldn’t be technically inaccurate to call Dalhous’s new EP Visibility Is A Trap an ambient music record—it’s full of lush, slowly shifting sounds. In general, it’s far more concerned with texture than rhythm or tune, so it meets the genre’s main requirements. But the description doesn’t completely fit. By definition an ambient record, even a great one, is supposed to be able to function as aural wallpaper (and be “as ignorable as it is interesting,” according to Brian Eno), but even at its most tranquil moments Visibility refuses to fade into the background.
With Dalhous, Alex Ander and Marc Dall traded the chilling industrial chamber music of their Young Hunting project in favor of oblique, twitchy ambient pastoralism. Yet the duo never lost their particular sort of offness, producing a sprawling work (last year’s An Ambassador for Laing) that served as a boon to both fans of 90s electronica and to the estimable roster of the untouchable Blackest Ever Black imprint. It’s an album in which the rich variety of textures and moods are initially more vexing than welcoming.
Visibility is a Trap, the second release from Dalhous, brings some unheralded beauty to the Blackest Ever Black record label. Consisting of just four tracks and a remix, this 20-minute EP showcases Dalhous' crystalline ambient crawl, combining warm tones with icy textures on tracks like "Active Discovering" and "A Change of Attitude. "Described as a warm-up release for their upcoming sophomore LP, too much of the material on Visibility is a Trap relies on the elements that made Dalhous' debut work (cascading soundscapes, aluminum drum cracks and ebbing almost-rhythms) instead of exploring new ideas and textures.