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Ministry of Rites – Grid

Ministry of Rites - Grid

CD-R, Edgetone Records, 2008

Another output of self-termed ‘sonic art’, a description that sometimes holds as much trepidation for me as it does joy. I did approach this album warily considering that a lot of freeform sampled jazz mixed with experimental electronics can become a sheer mishmashed wash of garbage.
Thankfully, Ministry of Rites go down the musical route pretty much from the off, rather than introducing this factor later on in the album, and it’s just about enough to engage the listener rather than relying on build-ups of field recordings (it’s a necessary demon for me to be given something to latch on to, and the subtle ambient tonal rings are beautifully composed to whet my palate). The only downside on track one actually being the field recordings, which do seem somewhat misplaced and too raw an addition to the music itself.
“Saturnine Shores” is very much eclectic and not everyone is going to roll with the wonderfully played saxophone on here. I do, however, and it does add something generally different into the fray. This time the ambience filtering through from the field recordings works perfectly; a track which is truly bizarre, but listenable and intriguing in its own right.
Track four is pretty much forgettable as just outside recordings and its best just to skip on to “Embers” which is even more peculiar with its filtered tones and utterly nuts take on jazz. It’s fun, but just how much I would actually listen to this is anyone’s guess – it’s more one of those oddities you pull out at parties to show everyone how nuts your CD collection is.
“Grid”, the final and title track of this album, infuriated me. There is a lot this act could offer to a lot of people and this just seems to be ham-fistedly put together with little or no direction. When Ministry of Rites do get it right (and they have the ability), it is genuinely engaging and listenable; it’s just that fifty percent of the time they just seem to faff about too much for me and I drift off. Something for those with very eclectic tastes that disappointingly just comes somewhere short of approaching other audiences and fails.


— Tony Young

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