US label Dragon’s Eye celebrates and consolidates its second year with this specially packaged release, beautifully presented in a transparent DVD case with cloud images by Steven Miller.
This particular milestone showcases the wide remit of the label, featuring unique collaborative works alongside existing artists and forthcoming releases, giving a further indication that Dragon’s Eye intends to be around for quite some time. Opening with “Gensho no Tabe”, a collaborative piece by Tadahito Ishinoseki and Tomoyoshi Date, a restrained, elegant piano workout, with a theatrical voiceover in Japanese, followed by a Yann Novak piece, “Lullaby” – a tense, metallic dronescape draped over a shifting textural tonal backdrop. Kamran Sadeghi’s “Untitled (kha series)” is a classic ultra minimal tone work, a bleepy, glitchy, utterly compelling soundscape that is for me, one of the high points of this collection. Next we have Corey Fuller’s “Light along the edge of the water” full of sparkling, razor sharp textures, overlaid with twinkling layers of tones, that barely escape lapsing into New Age cliché, by subtly bringing the textural elements to the front of the mix. Manning and Novak follow with “Feeling alone all together”, an expansive, evenly –paced, guitars and samples piece, dripping with reverb, and peppered with organic elements and fissured electronic gestures, that keep the piece alive and interesting. “Midnight Sanctuary” is another collaborative piece, fusing the work of Corey Fuller with Tomoyoshi Date – another tonal piece replete with field recordings and sampladelia that reminded me of some of Fennesz’s finest moments, with splintered, fractured keyboards, and electronic shards. Jamie Drouin is the label’s maverick composer, his “Dresden” track is a skewed, abstract slab of electronica that takes a walk on the dark side with it’s eerie, nagging electronic refrain, and overdriven guitar stabs that collide and invert to create an intense, unnerving edgy soundscape. The collection finishes with label stalwarts, Son of Rose, whose “Grand treatments” lives up to its name completing the album with a finely wrought, muscular tonal edifice of cascading samples and chords, topped with a crackling textural skrim, that gently swells and evaporates, finishing the whole collection on a high.
For a label still so young, Dragon’s Eye have the sort of sharp production values, and keen eye for aesthetics that will take them much much further. With a roster this strong, and inventive, it will surely make them a label to watch for in the future. Fine stuff indeed. BGN