Sunday, 6 April 2014

Album of the Week #19

Artist: Phaeleh
Album: Fallen Light
Year: 2010
Label: Afterglo

Bristol-based electronic musician Phaeleh has been releasing his ambient, bass-heavy music since 2008, making him somewhat of a veteran in the genre, but it's surely 2010's Fallen Light which stands out as his most complete piece of work. He is one of many electronic artists to break out of a city which has become defined by it's love of bass, with this record plucking the best elements from trip-hop, dubstep and ambient music.

It is perhaps a rare feat for electronic musicians to make genuinely strong albums - Disclosure one modern example that goes against that trend - but even at 13 songs long, Phaeleh also goes some way to disproving that notion. But where the all-conquering Disclosure called in all manners of special guests to feature on Settle, Phaeleh calls in just one - Soundmouse - to feature on two songs: Afterglow and Breathe in Air. Both are album highlights.

Soundmouse's superb, woozy vocals certainly lift the two tracks to the highest points of the record, as they float in and out of that blissed-out Bristol bass sound. Badman flirts with dubstep and is symbolic of the coffee table, 'post-dubstep' phase, where everyone calmed down after the rise of Skrillex and American 'brostep'. It's a testament to Phaeleh's abilities that this track actually preceded the whole emergence and subsequent submergence of that scene.

Perhaps the only disappointment stemming from the album is the length of both the individual tracks and the whole album. Although the more ambient moments of the album nicely float along, it certainly treads a fine line between that and plain old meandering. But the knockout moments of this album are some of the best electronic music you'll hear, so it's certainly worth persevering with - just like any music of this nature.

Phaeleh does manage to blend together the elements of what has made 'The Bristol Sound' as successfully as you could hope for though. Fallen Light is a rewarding journey through post-dubstep sounds that will have you racking your brains for who influenced it. However, Phaeleh's music has probably influenced more modern artists than you might think.

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