May 092011

Mender :: Body of Gossamer
released 2011 (Mender/Deadpop records)

Body of Gossamer was performed, arranged, recorded and produced by Ash West-Mullen at his home in Nottingham. Ash is an electronic artist and drummer of Alright The Captain

There’s a wonderfully diverse selection of electronic music available at the moment, and although much of it is quite good, I find myself listening most to the records that are mellow and introspective. Regular rotation includes older projects from Edward KaSpel, Pan American, Seefeel, Nurse With Wound, and Famous Boyfriend, along with the outstanding new music being released by labels such as Heat Death Records and Hawk Moon Records. One of the newest releases that has been streaming a lot lately in the office is Ash West-Mullen’s project, Mender.

Mender’s latest EP, Body of Gossamer, definitely can be categorized as electronic, but what makes it stand apart from many other releases is the way that Ash has embraced and integrated a variety of acoustic elements into the mix. This combination gives the record the same pastoral quality that you’ll find from bands such as Hood, Declining Winter, Woo, and Ithaca Trio. You’ll hear a steady down-tempo beat throughout, providing a solid base to layer the acoustics, along with an interesting variety of electronics. There’s no rushed feeling with any of these tracks – the EP is perfect for a quiet night’s relaxed groove, or as a soundtrack for your mellow adventures. I was recently in England on business and found myself really enjoying ‘Body of Gossamer’ while we were driving through the southwest countryside, exploring the tors of Dartmoor. ‘Apsis’ and ‘Heal This Cathode’ open the EP and both meander softly with keyboards and guitar, ‘Worried About My Heart’ envelops you with reflective electro-acoustic soundscapes, ‘Lounge Cat’ and ‘Minimal Bitch’ deliver sublime funk, and the EP closer ‘Dead Waves’ finishes with hushed vocals and a bit more effected edging on the guitars and keyboards. Overall, a solid collection of songs that make for a very enjoyable listen.

Body of Gossamer is a perfect choice when you are in the mood for confident, intelligent music. The songs are balanced, and very well developed. I definitely recommend giving the record a listen if you’re a fan of any of the bands listed in this review. Mender has delivered a really good new release – I’m definitely looking forward to more. Also, not to be missed is the artwork and layout by Carrie Hodson Walker. It’s a perfect accompaniment to the songs on the record.

You can listen to the record here >, and once you get to the end of song 6, I think you’ll agree that it’s a release that needs to live in your music collection.

 Posted by at 5:48 pm