CD/digital, Latenight Weeknight Records, 2009
Brim Liski’s self-titled debut might be brief, but it is brimming with gigantic sound. Perhaps most readily described as electronic post-rock with a sizeable dose of synthpop, the release easily falls in with peers from shoegaze to nu-gaze and everything neo-psychedelic in between. Brim Liski expresses such genre standards as the voice as an instrument – often embedded deep within the layered mix, molded with reverb and delay – and tremendous, effects-laden sound. The music is searing, but sweet, despondent in its flowing, shimmering painkiller dreaminess. Although containing only six original tracks, plus two remixes of the first track, “Brim Liski” intends to stretch time infinitely.
In various ways Brim Liski evokes such other artists as Ulrich Schnauss, My Bloody Valentine, M83 and Sigur Rós, though it is never any one of these completely. Its particular brand of dream pop certainly finds its footing in a droning ethereality, a wall-of-noise aesthetic, yet engages its audience with more upfront percussion, a curious combination of ambient detachment and synthpop danceability that injects more driving motion into an otherwise drifting, slow-swirling sound. Taking “Longing” as the exemplar, the music is neither crushingly oppressive nor shattering in its loudness, but remains suitably dense, tangibly thick with vast, sweeping guitar and synth chords, slow-motion melodies and drawn-out vocals, backed by beats faster than expectations would presume.
The simultaneous slow/fast contrast is what defies convention and sets Brim Liski apart. The thundering atmospheres are wondrous; the strong, sometimes syncopated, dance beats are vigorous. The dynamic is self-complimentary, though the fusion seems not quite perfected. “Moving Water”, with its keyboard flourishes, leans especially toward synthpop, as does “An Endless Drive”, where the vocals seem more outspoken and sit higher in the mix. “Fight” and “All the Things” tend more toward the shoegazing/post-rock side as saturated layers float one upon the other, their forward motion the result of so much lateral pressure. Brim Liski’s unique style asks for better-developed beat structures, ones that lock into the music’s ethereal groove without standing too far outside of it.
Concerning the “Fight” remixes, the first (J*p J*p Remix) seems tactless in its smoothing away the best aspects of the original, but the second (c.db.sn Lost in Space Remix) is worthwhile mentioning. While maintaining the original’s bass impact, its addition of glitch beats and acid tweaks in place of overpowering sweeps cuts the fullness of the original’s noise – a reductive treatment in terms of sound, but one that compensates with shivering IDM textures otherwise absent from Brim Liski’s palette, and quite successfully accomplished at that.
— Dutton Hauhart