CD, Audiophob, 2008
Consisting of members of The Rorschach Garden and power electronics staple Synapscape, Mandelbrot presents their latest release on the German label Audiophob, appropriately titled “Thorns.”
Upon casual observation, this could mistakenly get filed in the dark ambient cabinet, however “Thorns” manages to avoid this false entrapment and actually functions very well under its own weight. Each pattern and sound is quite subtle, yet combined together manage to create a densely layered dirge that seems to breathe and contort with life-like movements. A wonderful contrast exists here between dark drones and clanking rhythms and lush ambiance and high-tech bleeps, enabling the listener to conjure up lasting imagery that won’t soon be forgotten. Each piece seems to be telling a story, as if only able to communicate within the confines of strange aural similes and alien dialects, leaving the interpretation up to the listener to decipher. This is a journey into intricate soundscapes, surprisingly accessible and distinct, with a wonderful array of scenery to take in along the way. Mandelbrot has fashioned an album that not only has tremendous depth, but a strong sense of diversity throughout, expertly maintaining a consistent mood and resilient cohesiveness. “Thorns” is a mysterious and surreal walk through naturalistic themes, framed within a flexible modern electronic music structure that is at once gloomy and hopeful. Perhaps comparable to the thorny branch of a rose bush, it presents moments of sharp clamor alongside smooth transitional atmospheres that all work fluidly together to create something beautiful and unique.
“Thorns” is a sophisticated jaunt of headphone euphoria that has the ability to dissolve useless distractions within the subconscious and allow uninhibited explorations into Mandelbrot’s shadowy intentions.
— Paul Nielsen