Review: Dirac – Phon

Adding their name to the West European post-rock roster, Dirac emerge from Austria with their own combination of laptops and acoustic instruments. Their third album is an ambitious one-take, improvised set that shifts uneasily from one dark detour to the next.

At the most fundamental level, ‘Phon’ is one long forty-two minute instrumental passage that is bleak from start to finish. If that sends you recoiling in horror, then at least be assured that the music is deliciously dramatic and has a soundtrack-worthy scope which hints at the jazz-influenced textures of  Bark Psychosis and the droning guitars of Yellow6. From a relatively calm beginning, the mood becomes quite frantic as the drone and effects swarm like bees, enclosing the listener in a shroud of threatening doom. Gradually the oppressive sounds relent and ease towards an almost peaceful send-off accompanied by trickling water.

Whereas many of their post-rock peers opt for moments of beauty or human emotion amongst the noise, ‘Phon’ is a rather cold, detached record that challenges rather than entertains or moves those who hear it. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed with the musicianship and its chilly, cinematic qualities cannot be ignored.

Web Sites:
Dirac Official Site
Dirac MySpace

Further Listening:
Bark Psychosis, Yellow6, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore

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