Aqua Dentata: Ten Thousand Wooden Faces

This slice of exquisitely rendered drones, clicks and assorted gubbins actually came out in mid-2013. But, as those nice chaps at Electric Knife records (aka north London’s finest noise emporium) recommended it to me during a post-Christmas saunter round the shop I thought I’d put a few thoughts about it down here.

The five tracks unfurl at their own pace and, while they’re consistent in creating sense of stillness across the whole album, they nevertheless evoke a changing series of moods and deploy a cunning range of sounds and techniques.

So, for example, the opening piece – there are no titles, at least none I can find – rolls out an eerie hum that somehow fills the room even though it’s so incorporeal as to be almost non-existent. It’s unsettling, like the throbbing of an electrical system in an empty warehouse. A series of strange scraping sounds doesn’t so much relieve the tension as heighten it. Is it the sound of something trying to get in, or someone trying to get out?

But it’s track three that’s my fave, a six and a half minute cut that’s both deeply irritating and mesmerising, contrasting the two slabs of icy, deep-space drones, between which it sits, perfectly. In it, an an alarm bell rings continuously – you know, like the house alarms that go off at 1am just as the owners have gone away on holiday for a week – while a seemingly random series of buzzes and clicks gradually seep into hearing. After a while these noises seem less random, more like some highly organised phenomena – a hive mind or insect colony, perhaps, going about it’s own, inexplicable business.

A final track, a short recording of liquid sloshing and splashing around, ends the album in a suitably enigmatic fashion.

It’s good, assured stuff, basically.

Ten Thousand Wooden Faces is a limited run CDr, of 77 copies. Some are still available from the Aqua Dentata website. Grab one here.


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