Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Dead Voices on Air

From Labrador to Madagascar

(Invisible; US: 30 Jan 2006; UK: Available as import)

The dueling musical sensibilities of Mark Spybey have finally suitably merged on From Labrador to Madagascar, the first Dead Voices on Air studio album in seven years.  Before 1998, he was a strictly ambient sound manipulator, able to create layers of dread with gloomy found sound and the liberal use of delay effects.  Then came Piss Frond, the closest thing to a commercial breakthrough that an artist like Spybey ever sees, which saw the introduction of traditional song structures and even some vocal turns.  2000’s Frankie Pett Presents… the Happy Submarines felt like more of a stopgap than anything, though it turned out to be a stopgap that lasted seven years.  Finally, Spybey is back, combining long, ambient (though rife with percussion) exercises like “Madagascar” with shorter, more structured experiments like the pounding, abrasive opener “Tongue Like Scree” and the didgeridoo-touched, disembodied voices of “Grueland”.  Though discordance and dread are his trademarks, however, the best moments on From Labrador to Madagascar are the pretty ones, the delayed wood flute of “Furtive” and the distant cathedral choirs of “Splay” sticking out as the strongest moments on a really-damn-good album.  It’s unlikely that Spybey will ever again release anything as accessible (not to mention accomplished) as Piss Frond, but for anyone in the market for some dark, dynamic ambient music, missing From Labrador to Madagascar would be a minor tragedy.

Rating:

Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


discussion by
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.