Trace Decay Dispersion
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Bill Laswell

Mick Harris' (Scorn, Lull, Main) 1999 side project Trace Decay shows yet another side to this artist's growing catalog of work. On first look at the song list of seven tracks, a casual listener might wonder at the length of any album consisting of only seven tracks. But, then again, this album probably won't be appreciated by the casual listener. On deeper inspection, the listener will find that the shortest track is just under 6 minutes, and most of the rest are between 9 and 11 minutes in length.

While the lengthiness may seem daunting, the ebb and flow of each of the aurally dark tracks seems to roll with casual ease. For the most part, they set their own pace, even if at times, like during Albemic, the over-and-over beat may feel a little tired. Sonically, Trace Decay can be best described as slow electronic drums layered with passive, yet deep, baselines with a sprinkling of ambient sounds to keep the long-playing fresh.

For listeners who may not be strong on the ambient/industrial/dub genre, this album may get old and repetitive quickly. There are no 3 minute, quick and catchy tracks here. While the repetitive motion of the music is intentional, it isn't conducive to people with short attention spans. People who are into Mick Harris and Bill Laswell will know what to expect, even if this feels a little slower than some of Harris' other works.

Some tracks of note: Advocatus Diaboli comes out as a haunting overture, with casual drumbeats that take a beating from the overtly electronic bass line that pulses in and out. Albemic crashes along disjointedly, never feeling on time during it's mightly length, while the following track Nostoi feels smooth with probably the most up-tempo beat in the disc.

I won't lie to you, Trace Decay is not an album that the casual listener will like. It isn't catchy or commercial. It's dark and slow, but within it's slow pulse is a life that modern radio never sees. Fans of the genre should at least give this a listen. It's well worth the time to just sit back and enjoy.

-- Vane

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