Little is known about Electric Assembly, save they are a quartet based in London whose MySpace page describes them as “The Velvet Underground plays Boards Of Canada produced by Kevin Shields arranged by Sun Ra listened to by Syd Barrett”. Naturally this conjures up all kinds of images of psychedelic experimentation. In truth, they deliver on this promise pretty well too.
If I were to judge ‘White Splinter’ on three of its tracks, it would be a decent but unremarkable post-rock record. ‘Descent Pattern’ is a fairly pedestrian piece full of austere, savage noise which borders on prog metal. ‘Broken’, however, takes its foot off the pedal and its spare, solemn balladry offers a subtler version of Spiritualized’s quasi-religious symphonies, whilst ‘Wipe The Sun Off Your Shoes’ ends proceedings in a hopeful manner led by pleasant layers of bass and organ.
This just leave one track, which is not only the longest (it takes up more than half of the EP’s thirty five minutes) but also easily the most rewarding piece of music here. Built around what sounds like a loop of drone, wispy shoegaze guitar melody and insistent percussion, ‘11.43’ varies little until shards of feedback interrupt the flow and then settle down again to let the hypnotic groove ease to its denouement. It’s very rare that such a repetitive track should remain so captivating after so many listens but it is nevertheless a wonderfully enduring instrumental.
I wouldn’t normally advocate an EP on the strength of just one track but for ‘11.43’ alone, ‘White Splinter’ is recommended for drone rock/shoegaze afficionados. Perhaps its main achievement though is that you can actually hear elements of the aforementioned influences throughout the record, without diminishing Electric Assembly’s own identity.
Mogwai, Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine