Main Deliquescence
Grade
B+
 
Also Try
Lull
Certain Beyond All Reasonable Doubt

Main is what happens when a former rock-oriented artist tries to shift gears into a new realm of musical exploration. Not unlike Mick Harris, who went from drumming for Napalm Death to creating ambient soundscapes in Lull, former Loop guitarist Robert Hampson (who also spent some time with Godflesh) and his collaborator, Scott Dowson, have created a creature that survives on strange soundscapes that often defy standard descriptions.

Listening to Deliquescence is more of an experience rather than something you can take piecemeal. While the album may be laid out in specific tracks, they tend to meld together into an overall ebb and flow that spends many moments in near silence only broken with a patterned pulse or other sound that creeps forward to be noticed for the time being. In rare moments that are even familiar sounds, like the strumming of a deep bass chord that almost ground the album in some kind of reality.

The first offering that the album provides is Particle Suspension, a slow-to-rise track that barely audible throughout the opening, which rolls with low-tone audio that takes some time to become noticeable. Once it does come to prominence, the audio is full of bristling life that switches to a harmonious tone. In the later stages of the track, more traditional elements, like a deep bass line that repeats the same handful of notes come to prominence, balancing out the other more odd and infrequent audio bits.

Phase Space opens right away with an electronic pulse that's accompanied by some unsettling metallic scraping pieced together in an almost musical pattern. The body of the track is largely about synthesized tone that's drawn out, like the sound of crickets at night. Outer Corona begins with an almost unsettling "stretching out" of tone that settles into a familiar ambient sound accented by yet another bass-line that gives the track a human quality to it. This is quickly followed up by more active elements aligned such that the track can't help but stand out amongst the rest of the album. With patterned sounds used to make a beat and other elements compiled to make similar musical tones, Outer Corona is the most song-like this album gets.

Carrier Wave is the dark belly of the beast, composed of a hellishly dark tone that pulses and wavers as it builds. Not too long into the track, the listener is peppered with odd sounds that scrape and lurch into the track, aiding in the prevalent tone that's established quite well. Track five, Cavitation, is another one that's slow to come to fruition, but when it does, it features a "spacey" pulse that stands out over the low-tone lull like a beacon. It's not until later in the track that the listener is given a more palattable series of sounds to grab ahold of, an even then, they're quite unfriendly. The final piece Valency begins with a rattle, slows to a whisper and then builds itself back up again.

To be frank, Main, and the industrial ambient genre is particular, is not one that begs specific track listening or even direct, intent focus. Rather, Deliquescence proves to be an album that you throw on as background noise, not unlike a white noise generator. If you've never been privy to the genre or even experimental music in general, this album will probably put you off right away. Though, if you have had experience with the likes of Lull and Certain Beyond All Reasonable Doubt, then this album and Main in general is always a good addition to your collection.

- - Vane

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