Once of Air Formation and The Static Silence, Bartram has offered more than a decade of good service to the shoegaze genre. For his latest album though, he has applied certain constraints. Firstly, there would be no vocals or drums and only one guitar would be used plus – in his words – “whatever effects I felt necessary”. Clearly, he felt effects were absolutely essential as ‘The Dreaming Invisible…….’ is absolutely covered in them.
‘Absent’ gets events underway with lush drones to the fore. The melody and pace changes little so the variations in key change offered by the relatively brief ‘Alight’ are welcome. ‘Cadence’ conjures up deep walls of gut-level despair which do battle with a hypnotic jangly loop. Meanwhile, a heady euphoria is reached on ‘Healing’ before the multi-layered tapestry finds a new focus (and even more layers) for the closing ‘Illuminate’; the effects seemingly giving voice to shards of ice for a full thirteen minutes.
This will be the definition of hell for the shoegaze haters buit for those who enjoy glacially shifting guitar effects accompanied by gradual mood changes, ‘The Dreaming Invisible…….’ delivers time and again. After all, without those effects, this wouldn’t be a Bartram album would it?
Air Formation, Hammock, The Static Silence, Flying Saucer Attack