Ambient music isn’t for everyone. It’s too easy to dismiss its spa connotations as the background soundtrack to a day’s relaxation. That’s not the purpose of Edinburgh-based Les Scott’s release under the Neu Gestalt moniker, however. There’s too much detailed thought and artistry here, too many elements designed to engage the attention rather than dampen it down, for Inside The Rain Chamber to slip to the back of the listener’s consciousness. That said, there’s not a lot of structural distinction between the tracks and their component parts, and very little harmonic depth, with almost everything placed high up in the treble end of the aural spectrum. The album might prove too brittle for certain ears but listen, then listen again: the precision of Scott’s construction soon becomes apparent, individual beats sound like gravel crunching, like vinyl crackling, like bike gears free-wheeling, but the processed shakuhachi and slivers of Oriental vocals – glimpsed like fragments down a hall of mirrors – add a welcome human element.
‘Capsule’ is track of the month for December in The Scotsman newspaper’s Under The Radar music section.
The very many sounds on ‘Inside The Rain Chamber’ were processed and reprocessed over a two and half year period and the album was produced on an Atari ST, now around 28 years old. I use this set-up primarily to avoid all the distracting decisions that plug-ins bring with them on more elaborate DAWs and to focus more time on the music itself. I like to use extensive filtering on my Akais to give my sounds greater texture, though they are often already processed at length before they reach the Akai filters. I do this as part of often very elaborate attempts to try to give what I do a distinct sound, well away from the brittle, plastic clarity that can quite often, to my ears at least, be a feature of a plug-in set-up. The sounds that, if any, I use most regularly on ‘Inside The Rain Chamber’ begin life with my two shakuhachi (Japanese end-blown wooden flutes)(top right). I process them until they become fairly synth-like, but the reason I use them as a sound source is to try to introduce and retain a dominant organic, textural element to the music.
Les Scott December 2014
Inside The Rain Chamber is now released…
Inside The Rain Chamber
“It is the kind of music which paints pictures in your head as you listen to it. Memories past or present will drift across the insides of your eyelids as the whole sound slowly swallows you.”
Full review here
Neu Gestalt’s third album, released on 5 December 2014, is rich in Les Scott’s characteristic moody, atmospheric sound beds over which tiny fragments of Japanese language are dissected, processed and reconstructed into new words. Cloudy and grainy textures blend with filtered beats, occasional sparse, reversed fretless bass, found sounds and traces of bowed-in guitar.