Lamella is the ambient project of musician Loren Dent who is also a member of the Austin post-rock quintet Purchase New York. Emotionally speaking, this particular kind of ambient music harks back to the first Brian Eno/ Harold Budd collaborations and most notably to the drone symphonies of Stars Of The Lid. It has also been compared favourably to Eluvium, Tim Hecker and even Labradford.
After mentioning such names, I knew it would be quite difficult for me to write about this cdr, being a long-time admirer of the aforementioned artists. The first thing that could be said ? right off the bat ? is that whatever comparisons you can draw, this music feels very personal, even though it is an understatement to say that it is very similar to Stars Of The Lid.
Furthermore, I would not like to ramble too much on the fact that it is also dreamy and melancholic, that it acts sometimes like some sort of aural perfume and that it can both cause drowsiness and invite you to various daydream meditations.
Even if the music of Lamella doesn?t appear to offer anything ?new? on the ambient side of things, it has its own internal workings as several listens actually reveal a very special dynamic between the use of melodic fragments and the way drones are being sculpted.
Sometimes, it feels like it is the melody that gives the sense of direction from which the variations on closely-associated tonalities will actually grow (especially on the first track ?Screen Memories?).
Sometimes, the musical elements sound so disjointed, yet carefully assembled, that the ensuing drones become further experiments in sonic fragility (track #5 and especially track #3, ?The History Of These Things?).
But you also have another tendency which consists in building a tenuous construct in which the melody and the drone keep on feeding each other. In this case, the pieces will be the closest you can get to a kind of ambient ?chamber music? a la Eno (track #4, for instance, as well as the charming and oh so sweet ?Under You Again? and the wonderful ?Sutures? with its soft and continuous background noise).
If I had to make yet another comparison, I would say that the sound of Lamella is not dissimilar to Rameses III, but without the folk elements and the approaching song structures.
My favourite piece, however, is the eponymous last track whose delicate interplay between the more abrasive sound treatments and the soft high-pitched keyboard drones could be said to evoke the effect of light as it passes through the leaves during an early morning drive.
Actually, the more I listened to this cdr, the more I started to notice the emphasis it puts on every little detail, how it handles ? in its own special way ? the balance between the digital manipulations and the various acoustic sources. It is here that Lamella really took me by surprise, as it seemed to mock gently my previous knowledge of the genre. All of a sudden, it offered much more than met the ear...
However, and though I can only recommend this cdr to all those who enjoy this kind of ambient music, I still think more time will be needed before one actually hears the music of Lamella in full bloom. And that will be something to look forward to. 6/10 -- Francois Hubert (24 July, 2006)