Another winner from the Miasmah label – and a rather unexpected one, straying off the winning formula of modern cinematic composition, at least a bit. Simon Scott, former drummer of intense shoegazers Slowdive, brings something new to the label’s aesthetic portfolio. Call it shoegaze, if you like, or postrock, if you want to stress the blurry, but insistent, drive of album opener “Introduction of Cambridge” or of what I’d call the standout track, “The ACC”.
But it’s not all unchartered territory for Miasmah, as Scott also creates the label’s signature organic, deep arrangements in which processed guitars, Sitar, violin, cello and flute add narrative touches or dramatic movement to ambient soundscapes. When I reviewed a release by Scott’s Televise project a few years back, I pointed out that it was “the untarnished beauty of these tracks (...) that prevents the ep from really standing out”, registering a lack of irritation, of darkness, and of “foreboding of things that might destroy the beauty on display”. Well, with “Navigare”, Scott happens to offer exactly what I’d been hoping for: He has abandoned blissful electronica to move back to his shoegaze roots, but with more than a grain of dark ambient, looped rhythms leading nowhere and a fair amount of irritating samples.
Featuring “additional treatments” by Jasper TX and a track that Scott composed together with Rafael Anton Irisarri, “Navigare” is firmly rooted in a scene that continues to expand its artistic boundaries by small, but by no means minimal, steps. 8/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (11 November, 2009)