33 minutes is a mini-album in my book, but then what’s a label. Pausal are a couple of guys from Fleet in Hampshire who deal in immersive orchestral drone. It’s one of those fields that’s easy to do in theory, but in less talented hands often lacks an emotional punch or a clear identity. This, their debut EP, came out a couple of years ago, but has been tweaked, expanded and remastered for this issue.
Comparisons to Stars of the Lid are inevitable, of course. But there are also traces of William Basinski’s loop experiments, the likes of Tangerine Dream, Pete Namlook and Klaus Schulze and Eno’s early ambient works. There are no weak points at all, but “Song From a Cloth Pocket” is simply outstanding. Built around a cyclical cello loop, harmonies merge and soar around its central helix before gradually dissolving into the far distance. It has that same kind of mix of melancholia and bliss that shapes Eno’s “An Ending (Ascent)” and that’s not a piece I compare anything to lightly.
“Place (Revisited)” is another exceptionally strong piece. Central to it is one long sustained organ drone, with the natural microtonal shifts creating a melodic mirage. Deep inside its core, symphonic and choral loops are submerged, almost subliminally. “Semi-Submerged” kicks off with the distant sound of aircraft and then sinks into a dense orchestral ebb and flow that has echoes of the Arctic ambience of Biosphere.
An album is supposedly due before year end. That’s something to look forward to. For now this EP is more than enough to be getting on with. Great cover too.
1 Heroes = Dogs 8:30
2 Song From a Cloth Pocket 6:23
3 Place (Revisited) 11:50
4 Semi-Submerged 7:09