Nickolas Mohanna crafts deep, smoke-filled drones using a guitar, a computer and various electronics. After a couple of releases on some mighty-fine imprints – Abandon Ship, Stunned, Blackest Rainbow – Mohanna has dropped his latest bomb via the equally impressive Small Doses label. “The Relative Middle” spans five tracks and fits onto a full-size CD-R, running contrary to what I thought was the format of choice for the label – the teeny, tiny 3” CD-R. Oh well, rules are meant to be broken, right??
Clearly, electronics rule the world of “The Relative Middle,” as the majority of the tracks are rooted firmly in slow moving synth progressions. Subtle tones work their way up from the depths, maneuvering themselves to the forefront of the sonic canvas. They don't remain there long, as they are quickly devoured by the somewhat blissful haze.
“Oculis Waiting” feels like it's more of a guitar-based piece, its shimmering luster seemingly unachievable via synthesizer. But who can tell these days what instrument is making what sound? For all I know Mohanna's mic'ed up a sousaphone and is playing it with his ass and running it through a shit-load of effects! It doesn't matter how these dreamy tones were created. The end result is pleasant, and that's all that matters to me. 7/10 -- Bryon Hayes (27 January, 2010)