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b°tong – Structures

b°tong - Structures

CD + download, Noecho Records, 2008

b°tong’s downloadable album which is reviewed here is actually not a complete version. It includes 3 tracks of the full album and 3 bonus tracks, thus becoming rather a complement to the CD version and an indication about what the full album has in store for the listener.
b°tong’s “Structures” explores sounds of warmth and iciness and experiments with the tensions and congruences between these opposites. “Black Flies” is the first of three bonus tracks to open the album and consists of windy soundscapes with almost organic voices distorted and toyed around with, followed up by the short “Drone (part I)”. “Drone (part II)” consists of eleven minutes of cosmic, well, drones, with hypnotic and repetitive stereo effects on humanoid voices. The track has an eerie twist, somewhere between Tibetan hums and the bellowing of some supernatural elk-like being, before evolving into a dark but almost danceable rhythmic pattern. “Tu me degoute!” (in spite of the title’s misconjugation) drags the defenseless listener from warm summer night atmospheres into what evokes the emptiness of an immense cold storage, probably the same place which “Stalker” starts out with, later shifting over to more mechanical sounds and to “Black Dog Dream” which keeps combining cold and metallic vibrations with warmer elements.
The description of the album’s concept on the official website mentions “cold and dark atmosphere juxtaposed with middle of the summer weather” and indeed b°tong has successfully juxtaposed, combined and shifted between these poles. At times, the duality is clearly recognizable but eventually – beyond the clichés – one ends up unsure of which of two opposites is really at hand. Along with a fair potential for listener immersion, “Structures” has some discomforting and exciting moments to offer.


— David G.

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