Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cestine – Rugosa

April 24, 2015 • Hacktivism Records

Another followup EP this week: Cestine's Rugosa, a fantastic sequel to Other Half / Bright Encounter.

It's more of the same droning ambient, but again Cestine does it in a very effective way that few similar artists can do. While the music is relatively simple, it's produced in a way that is both engaging and relaxing. It has a hazy, fuzzy aesthetic created by huge, monolithic slabs of synth waves (or whatever they're using—it's always so hard to tell) and reverberation, layered up and sent cascading down. Although it's a bit slow-burning and takes its time getting the listener absorbed into it, if you have the patience for this sort of stuff it absolutely pays off—especially the EP's ending: a bittersweet string and wind ensemble over choppy bass rumbles and a bit of field recordings. A beautiful way to wrap up.

My only disappointment with it is that the tracks are far too short; three to five minutes is nowhere near long enough for this style of music, and that's something Other Half / Bright Encounter didn't have a problem with. On Rugosa the first three tracks seem like they're over before they've even started, and spooling them out to ten minutes or longer would have been simple. I could be very happy with these same four tracks in a longer album format.

Still, as they're presented they are wonderful to listen to and I'm glad I got this EP. Cestine (as a group) has sadly ended but hopefully the members' solo work can stay on the same level (I just have to remember to keep up with it!).

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