Venation is the latest offering from independent Brisbane label Duskdarter, who act as curators for the release, bringing together some of their favourite Brisbane artists for a compilation of “ambient and instrumental compositions”.
Andrew Tuttle kicks things off with bubbling steel-string guitar manipulations which restrain the instrument, keeping it just below the surface before opening up into one of his trademark, albeit brief fingerpicked passages.
Brisbane trio Feet Teeth follow with the expansive, ‘The Scenic Rimmer’. Sustained chords provide the backdrop for noodling drums and trumpet, the latter taking centre stage and appearing to call the shots as the piece delves into a gradual crescendo. The drums are given suitable space to wander, ultimately taking the reins and leading the group into the finale. This interplay between instruments can also be heard on ‘Your Molecules Spin like Flywheels’ by Secret Black where the stripped back pairing of piano and acoustic guitar eventually make way for layers of saxophone and violin which chase each other playfully, duelling for melodic control.
The compilation is rounded out with three pieces that veer into soundscape territory as opposed to the preceding instrumental material. This final chapter begins with the aptly titled ‘God Practical’ by Skerreks, whose sampled bells create a trance-like mantra, becoming more heavily processed and unrecognisable as the piece unfolds, before descending into high-pitched drones and crackles that leave the listener in a woozy, disoriented state. Cedie Janson offers up a more straight forward ambient piece, beautiful in its simplicity with lush waves of synth, bowed guitar and a sparse yet driving beat. Thane of Stone close proceedings with enveloping swathes of distortion which ebb and flow providing a somewhat sinister end to the album.
Compilations such as this can often seem mishmash with such a wide range of contributing artists and at times disparate styles; however Venation succeeds with clever track sequencing which results in a fairly cohesive overall listen. Duskdater should be congratulated for bringing together these seemingly like-minded artists as there is an almost audible sense of community that runs throughout the compilation.